Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Dozens killed in bombings at Pakistan election rallies

Supporters of Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as they gather at the venue where his younger brother Shahbaz Srarif will lead a rally towards the airport ahead of the arrival of Nawaz from London in Lahore Pakistan readies for disgraced ex-PM Sharif's return from UK
Jeannette Daniel | 14 July, 2018, 00:27

He said the death toll could rise further as 120 other people have been wounded in the explosion.

Among those killed in Friday's attack was Baluchistan provincial assembly candidate Siraj Raisani, whose brother Nawab Aslam Raisani had served as the provincial chief minister from 2008 to 2013.

The Supreme Court past year disqualified Sharif from holding public office for being corrupt and dishonest about his wealthy family's overseas assets as revealed by the leaked Panama Papers.

Sharif's son-in-law is now serving his one-year prison sentence on the same charge, which stems from the purchase of luxury apartments in Britain that the court said were bought with illegally gotten money.

He was taken into custody to serve his sentence, however he is expected to appeal and seek bail.

Sharif has been banned from participating in politics, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif now heads his Pakistan Muslim League and is fighting for re-election on July 25.

Police had earlier said more than 1,000 people were in attendance at the rally.

The bombing was the biggest attack in Pakistan in over a year.

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Pakistani and worldwide rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in Pakistani politics by keeping Sharif out of power. On November 26, 2015, at least two people were killed when a roadside bomb hit Durrani's convoy.

Underscoring the security threat, were Friday's bombings that killed 69 people in the latest election related violence.

Their return could shake up an election race marred by accusations Pakistan's powerful military is working behind the scenes to skew the contest in favor of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan, who describes Sharif as a "criminal" who deserves no support.

Mohammad Tahir said that three police personnel were also among those injured in the attack which occurred within the limits of Haved police station. He is a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an election alliance of radical religious groups.

Raisani is the second electoral candidate to be killed in pre-election violence this week.

Another 45 people were hurt in the attack in Mastung, a town in southwest Baluchistan province.

"Strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Akram Durrani and his convoy", Khan tweeted after the attack.

On Monday, a suicide bomber killed Awami National Party (ANP) leader and candidate in the general elections, Haroon Bilour and 19 others after striking at a corner election meeting in Peshawar city. "There seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the 25 July elections but the people of Pakistan will not allow any design meant to target these historic elections to succeed". But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow anything to prevent "historic" elections from taking place.

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