Peshawar serves as the hub of suicide blasts, claims life ANP election candidate, death toll hits 20

Peshawar serves as the hub of suicide blasts, claims life ANP election candidate, death toll hits 20

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PESHAWAR: The recent Peshawar suicide attack, claimed the life of Awami National Party (ANP) election candidate Barrister Haroon Bilour. Moreover, the death toll has increased to 20, media reported Wednesday morning.

Currently, 62 people injured in suicide attack are seeking treatment at Lady Reading Hospital, authentic sources confirmed.

The explosion, which occurred late Tuesday night, in YakaToot neighborhood moments after Bilour arrived to attend a corner meeting.

An eyewitness Inam said that Haroon was scheduled to attend a corner meeting at Azeemabad. “We were waiting at the venue when we heard an explosion as soon as Bilour’s vehicle approached the gate,” he said.  He recalled falling unconscious after witnessing blood and body parts strewn through dust and smoke.

The deceased ANP candidate, Barrister Haroon, who was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar’s PK-78 constituency, will be buried in Wazir Bagh at 5pm today (Wednesday).

The son of Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a senior ANP figure who, himself, was martyred in a suicide blast back in 2012, Haroon was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition but succumbed to his wounds shortly after.

Shortly after the blast, ANP supporters gathered outside the hospital and shouted slogans against the government for its failure to provide security to their leader.

The ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks in the 2013 election.

Polls in PK-78 postponed

Following the remorseful incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 constituency.

The polls have been postponed due to the death of the PK-78 candidate, the electoral body said, adding that the new schedule for the said constituency will be announced soon.

A list of all the victims od this explosion has also been released, however, two bodies are yet to be identified.

Apart from Haroon Bilour, others killed in the explosion have been identified as Asif Khan, Muhammad Shoaib, Muhammad Naeem, Yaseen, Haji Muhammad Guk, Najeebullah, Abidullah, Huzaifa, Arif Hussain, Akhtar Gul, Imran, Rizwan, Zameer Khan, Asrar, Sameen, Sadiq, and Khan Muhammad.

Speaking about the incident, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retired) Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan condemned the terrorist attack and termed it a “weakness of security institutions”.

The ambush was a conspiracy plotted against the transparent elections, the CEC said, noting that the provincial governments were ordered to provide fool-proof security to all candidates.

On the other hand, however, ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the government had failed to provide security controls to the party.

“Perhaps someone wishes to sabotage the elections … wants to push ANP out of the electoral race,” he added.

However, the “ANP will fully participate in the elections”, he added.

While the violence in Pakistan decreased in recent months after several military offensives against their strongholds in the region, many terrorists escaped to neighboring Afghanistan, from where Islamabad says they launch attacks.

Peshawar city sits on the edge of a region bordering Afghanistan that has been a marked target amid extremists.

The Pakistan Army announced on Tuesday it would deploy over 371,000 troops to ensure peaceful and fair and free elections on July 25.

 

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