Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Killed In Blast At Election Rally In Pakistan's Quetta

Killed In Blast At Election Rally In Pakistan's Quetta

At least 70 people, including an election candidate, were killed and over 120 were injured in a blast at a rally in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Friday afternoon, Dawn reported, quoting provincial Health Minister Faiz Kakar.

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

Sharif's arrival in the eastern city of Lahore was delayed until 8pm.

Last month a drone strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in neighbouring Afghanistan in what the Pakistani army called a "positive development" that also sparked fears of reprisals.

Sharif is expected to appeal against his conviction and seek bail.

More than 100 people were wounded in the suicide bomb attack at the election rally in the town of Mastung. He will be accompanied by his daughter Mariam, who has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

There was barbed wire across some roads leading to Lahore airport on Friday and barricades at the roadside ready to close off main boulevards should crowds start to gather.

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif said that the attack has raised question over the state of security in the country. The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission.

The former minister was leaving a corner meeting when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a motorcycle some 50 metres away from the jalsa ground went off in the jurisdiction of Havaid police station, RPO Karim Khan said.

Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among those killed.

The military has warned of security fears in the run-up to the tense election on July 25, and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

Durrani, who is contesting in July 25 elections against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan, announced that he will continue campaign despite threats.

This is the second major incident of pre-poll violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this week.

"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", he tweeted. But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow anything to prevent "historic" elections from taking place.

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