Pakistan: Death toll climbs to 20 in suicide bombing

Death toll from Tuesday's suicide bombing targeting an election rally in northwestern Pakistan rose to 20, officials said Wednesday.

The bombing took place on Tuesday evening in Yakatoot area in the city of Peshawar, where the Awami National Party (ANP), a local nationalist party, was holding a rally.

Apparently it was a suicide attack and the bomber blew himself up near [candidate] Haroon Bilour, Atiq Shah, a local police officer, told reporters.

Bilour, a provincial assembly candidate for the July 25 general elections, died after being transported to the Lady Reading Hospital in critical condition.

Eight of the injured succumbed to their wounds last night, raising the initially reported death toll of 12, Lady Reading hospital spokesman Zulfiqar Babakhel told Anadolu Agency.

Some 63 injured are still seeking treatment in the hospital, he added.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has postponed the election on provincial assembly seat PK-78 after the assasination of ANP candidate.

Haroon Bilour was the son of Bashir Bilour, a prominent ANP leader and former senior minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, who was also killed in a 2012 suicide attack.

In a statement Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it a "revenge" for the former ANP government in the province.

All the major military operations against the TTP were carried out in Swat, Dir and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during ANP's rule in 2008-2013.

The attack follows a roadside bomb going off near an election rally in Bannu district last week, injuring seven people, including a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) provincial assembly candidate.

Peshawar borders the Khyber Agency, once a stronghold of Pakistani militants. The area was cleared after military operation last July, and Pakistan's army says hundreds of militants fled to border areas of Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities claimed that those who fled from Pakistani tribal areas established hideouts in Afghanistan's Kunar, Noristan and Nangrahar provinces, from where they carry out attacks in Pakistan.

Last month Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Kunar province.

Source: Anadolu Agency