IS claims election rally bombing in Pakistan

Leroy Wright
July 14, 2018

In one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan's history, a suicide bomber targeting a political rally in southwest of the country killed 128 people, on Friday. Another senior official, Qaim Lashari, also confirmed it was a suicide blast.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its newswire Aamaq.

The bombing was the third incident of election-related violence this week.

District Police Officer Bannu Khurram Rashid has said the incident took place as Durrani was returning from an election rally and explosives were detonated close to his vehicle with the help of remote control.

Brother of Siraj Raisani, Lashkar Raisani have also confirmed the explosion killed Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat PB-35 with Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

"Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta", he added.

Raisani was the younger brother of former provincial chief minister Mir Aslam Raisani.

In another attack that took place eailier in the day, the convoy of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani was attacked in Bannu, resulting in the death of four people and injuries to around a dozen others.

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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. Hospital officials said Friday that the toll in that attack had risen to 22.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has condemned the terrorist attack saying that he was "saddened to learn of Nawabzada Siraj Raisani's shahadat in this targeted attack as well as the shahadat of 15 other innocent citizens".

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

He also used the opportunity to again criticise Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country directly or indirectly for most of its 71-year history, saying Pakistan now has a "state above the state".

Security situation in Pakistan has dramatically improved in recent years, with the military cracking down on militancy that has cost tens of thousands of lives in the past decade.

Expressing concerns over such attacks during election campaigns, he called for serious investigations in these attacks.

Analysts warn, however, that Pakistan has yet to tackle the root causes of extremism, and militants retain the ability to carry out attacks.

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