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

Haroon Bilour was approaching the rally organised in connection with his election campaign on Circular Road when the explosion took place

At least 12 people, including Awami National Party candidate Haroon Bilour, were killed in a suicide blast at the party's political gathering in Peshawar, SAMAA TV reported Tuesday.

11 others were martyred and 35 injured in the suicide bomb attack targeting his rally in a congested neighbourhood of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital shortly before the midnight.

The ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks in the 2013 election campaign, during which a senior party leader, Bashir Bilour, was killed in a suicide bombing.

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.

Condemning the attack, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan sought security for the political parties and their candidates during the election campaigns.

Noting that he had remained with Haroon Bilour throughout the election campaign, Danial, nonetheless, urged party workers to not lose hope. "This is our nation's tragedy".

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The late ANP candidate was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar's PK-78 constituency.

"This shows weakness of our security institutions and a conspiracy against transparent elections", he said in a statement. ANP leader Iftikhar Hussain said the funeral prayers of Haroon Bilour will be offered on Wednesday at 5pm at Wazir Bagh in Peshawar.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Faisal Sabzwari expressed sorrow on the great loss and paid rich tribute to the departed souls.

"My father had tried to call me".

The explosion took place in Peshwar's Yaka Toot area.

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