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Top ANP leader among others killed in blast at poll rally in Pakistan

At least 13 people, including a senior Awami National Party leader, were killed and 50 others injured in a suicide bomb attack targeting an election rally in Pakistan’s northwestern Peshawar city, the second terrorist attack on a poll rally ahead of the July 25 general elections.

The blast took place shortly before midnight last night when ANP leader Haroon Bilour along with other party workers gathered for a corner meeting in the congested Yakatoot area.

The blast occurred near the vehicle of Bilour, son of the late ANP leader Bashir Bilour, who was also killed in a suicide attack when a Pakistani Taliban bomber blew himself up at a party meet in Peshawar in 2012.

Thirteen people were killed and 47 others were injured in the blast, said the officials at the Lady Reading Hospital, where the victims were shifted.

City police Chief Qazi Jameel said Bilour, the ANP candidate from PK 78 constituency in Peshawar city, was among those killed.

Fireworks were being burst as Bilour arrived on the stage when the suicide bomber blew himself up. Bilour suffered serious injuries and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed to the wounds.

Bomb disposal squad chief Shafqat Malik said eight kilos of TNT explosive was used in the blast.

Rescue teams and law enforcement agencies have reached the site of the blast and investigations into the incident are underway.

This is the second terrorist attack on an election rally in Pakistan ahead of the July 25 general election.

Earlier this month, seven people including a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, a gathering of religious parties were injured in an explosion during an election rally near Takhtikhel also in the KPK province.

CEC condemns attack

Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza strongly condemned the attack.

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