Peshawar attack: death toll increase to 20

Peshawar attack: death toll increase to 20

At least 20 people, including a senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader, were killed and more than 30 others injured after a Taliban suicide bomber attacked an election rally in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city, the second terrorist attack on a poll rally ahead of the July 25 general elections.

Haroon Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the election in Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar.

Haroon Bilour was the ANP candidate for PK-78 Peshawar-13.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council has also announced a three-day mourning in light of the attack, with lawyers beginning the boycott of court proceedings today.

Mr Bilour's 16-year-old son Daniyal - among the 65 people wounded in the attack - called for calm after the bombing.

According to the reports, the blast took place when Haroon reached the site for the public meeting in Yakatoot area of KP capital.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack.

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Police said that the head of the suspected suicide bomber has been found from the rooftop of a building, adding that almost eight kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the attack.

The military launched a major offensive against militants in the Swat Valley during that period.

Political parties and the government in Pakistan have condemned the attack, with caretaker prime minister Nasirul Mulk ordering authorities to step up security ahead of the general election on 25 July. He suffered serious injuries and was shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

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

Although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the city of Peshawar has for decades been a victim of militancy due to its status as a frontline for the ongoing war against terrorism as well as its proximity to the restless tribal areas and the Pak-Afghan border.

Pakistan's Election Commission has asked the military to help hold a "free and fair election" in the face of security threats.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, said the troops would provide security at 85,000 polling stations and carry out other election-related duties following a request from the civilian body overseeing the vote.

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