ANP’s Haroon Bilour, 14 others martyred in Peshawar suicide blast

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  • Haroon Bilour, fourteen others martyred as suicide bomber targets ANP rally in Peshawar

  • Bilour family sacrifices two members at the altar of democracy as Bashir Ahmed Bilour was killed in 2012 bombing on party rally

 

PESHAWAR: At least 15 people, including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour, embraced martyrdom after a suicide bomber targeted a party rally in the Yakatoot area of Peshawar on Tuesday night, CCPO Qazi Jamilur Rehman confirmed.

As many as 66 people were injured in the incident and all casualties, including the ANP leader, were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital.

The head of Peshawar city police also informed media representatives that some 8 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

Earlier it was reported that Bilour was critically injured in the incident, however, family sources later confirmed that he had succumbed to injuries while on his way to the hospital.

The death toll is feared to go up as at least 20 of the injured have been stated to be in a critical condition.

Haroon, who was ANP’s candidate for the PK-78 constituency of Peshawar, was the son of Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a senior ANP figure who was martyred in a suicide blast in Peshawar in 2012.

Bashir was targeted in the Qisa Khwani Bazaar during an electioneering rally.

On July 9, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had briefed the Senate Committee on Interior about threats to the leaders of the political parties especially those of ANP.

The politicians facing security threats included the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief ministers Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Akram Durrani and ANP’s Ameer Haider Hoti.

On July 4, NACTA Director Obaid Farooq while briefing a sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior had said, “We have received as many as 12 threat alerts which are about leadership of political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and six personalities can be targeted during elections.”

The home department had directed the authorities concerned to provide security to the candidates of the PPP and ANP during their election campaigns.

Punjab chief secretary was informed that days before he was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan, TTP commander Mullah Fazalullah had issued directives to increase terrorist activities in Pakistan — to target the PPP and ANP during the general elections, in addition to carrying out terrorist attacks in various parts of Pakistan.

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.

Chief Election Commissioner Raza Khan said the attack on an electoral candidate, despite the ECP’s directions to provide security, was a result of the security institutions’ negligence.

Expressing grief over the incident, Imran Khan demanded from the authorities to bring the culprits to justice.

“Political differences apart, all political parties and their candidates must be provided proper security during their election campaigns by the state,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the attack was a threat to democracy and the democratic process.

“It is crystal clear that whom the terrorists do not want to contest the elections,” he said.

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