ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

PPP's senior leader further said that the attack is also a message to all other parties, especially the PPP, to leave the ground.

The blast took place when Haroon Bilour, who was contesting elections from PK-78 constituency, arrived at the site where the ANP workers had gathered for a corner meeting.

Haroon Bilour, a member of the Awami National Party (ANP) was killed at an election rally in Peshawar.

Tuesday's attack killed his son Haroon Bilour, a candidate for the provincial assembly. Footage showed volunteers and police rushing the wounded to hospital.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has chose to halt all electioneering in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab following the attack on an Awami National Party rally on late Tuesday night. Earlier, Pakistan's military warned of security threats in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for July 25. Hospital officials feared the death toll might rise as several of the injured were in critical condition.

His father Bashir Bilour, one of the ANP's top leaders, was also killed by a suicide bomber in 2012. The militants responded by carrying out a wave of attacks ahead of the 2013 elections, killing hundreds of ANP supporters.

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But many militants have escaped into neighbouring Afghanistan, from where Islamabad says they launch attacks back into Pakistan.

General elections in Pakistan are set for July 25, with 342 seats in contention.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, said 371,388 troops - almost a third of the total armed forces - would be deployed to provide security for the upcoming vote.

The attack came after the army said it would deploy more than 370,000 soldiers to polling stations - over five times more than the number deployed for the last election in 2013.

"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.

But security across Pakistan, including in Peshawar, has dramatically improved since government and military operations in recent years. The outlawed TTP had claimed responsibility for that attack.

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