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

Clay Curtis
July 11, 2018

Punjab chief secretary was informed that days before he was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan, TTP commander Mullah Fazalullah had issued directives to increase terrorist activities in Pakistan - to target the PPP and ANP during the general elections, in addition to carrying out terrorist attacks in various parts of Pakistan. Bilour was rushed to Lady Reading Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

"The anti-Islamism of the ANP is not hidden from anyone, and this secular party martyred many members of the Muslim community during its previous government", militant spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said in a statement.

Haroon Bilour was one of the ANP's election candidates and belonged to an influential political family in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital. Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the election.

Overall, violence in Pakistan has decreased in recent years after several military offensives against militant strongholds in the northwest.

More than 30 people injured in the explosion.

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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.

The military announced on Tuesday it would deploy more than 371,000 troops to ensure peaceful and fair and free elections on July 25. An official of the election regulatory body said that polls are delayed for a seat when a contesting candidate dies. "Our loyalty is only with Pakistan".

Chief Election Commissioner Raza Khan said the attack on an electoral candidate, despite the ECP's directions to provide security, was a result of the security institutions' negligence.

Worldwide and Pakistani rights groups have recently accused the army and its intelligence agency of intimidating media outlets in an attempt to stifle criticism of the military, accused by some of seeking to play a dominant role in the country's politics.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority on Monday had told a Senate standing committee that some leading political leaders faced death threats from militant outfits ahead of the 25 July general elections in Pakistan. "All political parties and their candidates must be provided proper security during their election campaigns by the State", Khan tweeted.

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