Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

As reported by Al Jazeera, the attack occurred at a campaign event organised by the Awami National Party (ANP) wounding at least 65 people, according to the local police chief.

Aside 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.

The politicians facing security threats included the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief ministers Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Akram Durrani and ANP's Ameer Haider Hoti. The military waged a major offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in 2009.

The Election Commission has delayed the election on Peshawar's PK-78, from where ANP leader Haroon Bilour was contesting. The militants killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013 election.

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A police officer in plain clothes collects evidence from the site after a suicide attack during an election campaign meeting in Peshawar, Pakistan July 10, 2018.

The blast took place in Yakatoot area of Peshawar when a corner meeting of ANP was underway, eyewitnesses say.

The ANP, which campaigns against the Taliban, has been a regular target of militants operating in Pakistan's northwest. "Moreover, there are threats to senior leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz", Nacta director Obaid Farooq said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior. His body was later shifted to Bilour House where ANP workers gathered in great numbers to pay respect to their deceased leader. At least six people, wounded during the blast, were said to be in critical condition at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital. Emergency was declared in all the hospitals of the city.

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.

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"This shows the weakness of our security institutions and a conspiracy against transparent elections", he said in a statement.

The bombing came hours after the Pakistan military spokesman said there were security threats ahead of national elections scheduled for July 25.

The Peshawar High Court Bar Association has announced a boycott of court proceedings to express sympathy with the bereaved families.

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