Bomb Blast Kills 10 At Election Rally In Pakistan

Clay Curtis
July 14, 2018

The explosion killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), provincial home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident. The claim could not be independently verified.

It was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on July 25, and underscored the fragility of Pakistan's dramatic gains in security.

Mr Raisani was the brother of the former Baluchistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani.

Siraj's teenage son, Akmal Raisani, had also been killed in an attack during a football match in the same district in 2011.

The violence came three days after a suicide blast killed 21 people at an election rally in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhaw province, where Bannu is situated.

A victim of a bomb blast is brought to a hospital in Quetta on July 13, 2018 following an attack at an election rally. Unidentified officials said the blast targeted his corner meeting.

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The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The officials have said the death toll has climbed at least four people while at least 32 others have sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment in the District Headquarter Hospital in Bannu.

Haroon Bilour, a senior secular politician and candidate for a provincial assembly seat, was among those killed in Tuesday's bombing. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

The MMA is a coalition of religious parties based in Pakistan's northwest. "Saddened to learn of Nawabzada Siraj Raisini's shahadat in this targeted attack as well as the shahadat of 15 other innocent citizens".

"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.

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.

But security across the country has dramatically improved since government and military operations cleared large swathes of territory near the Afghan border in recent years. But analysts have long warned that the country has not tackled the root causes of extremism.

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