Friday, 17 August, 2018

Blast near MMA candidate Akram Durrani's convoy kills three

Disgraced ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be whisked away by helicopter to the federal capital of Islamabad when he returns Friday to Pakistan's easte Pakistan: At least 70 people, including Balochistan Awami Party candidate, killed in blast
Patty Aguilar | 14 July, 2018, 03:54

The attack was the deadliest yet ahead of the July 25 parliamentary election and it came despite assurance from the military that it would take all possible measures to ensure a peaceful environment for the vote.

The first bomb killed four people when it exploded in the north-west, near the election rally of a senior politician from an Islamist party who is running for parliament from the town of Bannu.

Akram Durrani, former chief minister of the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was unhurt in the bombing, which struck his rally in the town of Bannu, local police chief Kurram Rashid said.

Mariam Sharif faces seven years in jail. His party appealed to supporters to head to Lahore and gather at the city's Allama Iqbal Airport to receive Sharif. Police made 140 arrests as part of an effort to keep Sharif supporters from inciting trouble.

The injured were taken to District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital Bannu for treatment, where officials confirmed the death toll had risen to four while 32 injured were undergoing treatment. The bombing was the biggest attack in Pakistan in over a year and is the third incident of election-related violence this week.

The Islamic State group has a muted presence in Pakistan but has carried out brutal attacks there in the past, including the blast at a Sufi shrine in February a year ago which killed almost 90 people.

Police had earlier said more than 1,000 people were in attendance at the rally.

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Mr Durrani is running against popular former MP Imran Khan.

The deadly attacks were condemned by President Mamnoon Hussain, Interim Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, caretaker chief ministers of all provinces among other political leaders.

Durrani belongs to an alliance of religious groups called Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, which ruled the province between 2002 and 2008 under him.

Raisani is the second electoral candidate to be killed in pre-election violence this week.

The blast comes days after a bomb claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar on Tuesday.

The military has warned of security threats in the run-up to the tense election on July 25, and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

"What credibility will these elections have when the government is taking such a drastic action against our people and this crackdown is taking place all over the country?" he told Reuters at the airport in Abu Dhabi as he waited for a connecting flight to Lahore.

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