ANP leader among three others killed in Peshawar blast

Suicide bomber kills ANP candidate, supporters at election rally

Suicide bomber kills ANP candidate, supporters at election rally

At least 15 people, including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour, embraced martyrdom after a suicide bomber targeted a party rally in the Yakatoot area of Peshawar on Tuesday night, CCPO Qazi Jamilur Rehman confirmed.

Condemning the attack, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan sought security for the political parties and their candidates during the election campaigns.

The blast occurred as Bilour arrived at the stage to address supporters in Yaka Toot area.

The bombing came hours after the Pakistan military spokesman warned about security threats ahead of the national elections.

Haroon Bilour was ANP candidate for a provincial seat for the upcoming general elections to be held on July 25 general. His father, Bashir Bilour, also a prominent ANP politician, was killed by a suicide bomber in 2012. Footage showed volunteers and police rushing the wounded to hospital.

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 constituency. Fazlullah had claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against the ANP before the 2013 election on the grounds that it had supported an army offensive against the militants.

Chief Election Commissioner Raza Khan said the attack on an electoral candidate, despite the ECP's directions to provide security, was a result of the security institutions' negligence.

The city is considered a gateway to Pakistan's troubled semi-autonomous tribal regions, where many terror groups - including al Qaeda - operated until the government launched operations to oust them.

An AFP reporter saw human remains, shoes, broken chairs, and caps littered at the scene.

"I lost consciousness after the blast". "The last thing I saw was a big ball of fire".

Another party worker, Yaseen Khan, said a deafening explosion rocked the compound as Bilour shook hands with supporters.

More than 380,000 personnel will be deployed for the elections, according to Major General Asif Ghafoor, the military spokesman.

Peshawar city sits on the edge of a region bordering Afghanistan that has always been home to Islamist militants.

On July 9, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had briefed the Senate Committee on Interior about threats to the leaders of the political parties especially those of ANP. The outlawed TTP had claimed responsibility for that attack.

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