ECP postpones election in PK-78 after Peshawar blast

Suicide bomber kills ANP candidate, supporters at election rally

The attack on Tuesday at a campaign event organised by the Awami National Party (ANP) also wounded at least 65 people, according to the local police chief.

It is pertinent to note here that Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, too had lost his life in a 2012 suicide bomb explosion in the city's Qissa Khwani bazar.

Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali Khan speaking to media on July 11, 2018.

Police said the bomber struck when Bilour was about to address some 200 supporters.

The ANP governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital, from 2008 to 2013.

They have often been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and their allies.

Reacting to the incident, Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk, Senate Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Rehman Malik, Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, as well as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, condemned the attack and death of the ANP leader.

Militants have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even schools in Peshawar.

Pakistan's Election Commission has asked the military to help hold a "free and fair election" in the face of security threats.

Sartaj Khan, an ANP supporter, sustained wounds on his feet. "The last thing I saw was a big ball of fire".

A police officer in plain clothes collects evidence from the site after a suicide attack during an election campaign meeting in Peshawar, Pakistan.

His body was later taken to Bilour House where party workers paid tributes to him. The ANP, which campaigns against the Taliban, has been a regular target of militants operating in Pakistan's northwest.

More than 380,000 personnel will be deployed for the elections, according to Major General Asif Ghafoor, the military spokesman.

Regarding the suicide attack, he said: "these are terrorists we are dealing with". These groups have often targeted political parties and leaders who oppose their views.

Fireworks were being burst as the ANP candidate from PK 78 constituency arrived on the stage when the suicide bomber blew himself up.

But security across Pakistan, including in Peshawar, has dramatically improved since government and military operations in recent years.

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