18 killed in twin blasts in Pakistan targeting poll campaign
Islamabad: At least 18 people were killed and over 50 injured on Tuesday in two bombings targeting politicians campaigning in northwest Pakistan for the May 11 general elections, a day after a powerful bomb ripped through a political rally in the country, claiming 24 lives.
A suicide bomber blew himself up near the car of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Mufti Syed Janan while he was campaigning in a market at Doaba in Hangu district.
Twelve people were killed and nearly 40 injured, officials and witnesses said.
Janan, who is contesting polls to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly, escaped unhurt. The attacker targeted Janan as he was meeting traders.
Witnesses said they had seen several bodies and injured persons lying at the site.
The injured were taken to hospitals at Doaba, Hangu and Thal.
Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.
Hours later, Pakistan People's Party leader Zahir Shah's car was targeted with a roadside bomb at Baba Gaam area of Lower Dir district.
Shah and five others were killed while 15 people were injured, officials said.
Shah was the brother of PPP leader Muhammad Zamin who is contesting polls to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly.
The bomb was triggered by remote control as Shah was going from house-to-house canvassing, officials said.
No group claimed responsibility for both attacks, that came a day after 24 people were killed in a bombing at an election meeting organised by JUI leader Munir Orakzai in Kurram tribal region.
The banned Pakistani Taliban claimed yesterday's attack.
Pakistan has witnessed a spike in violence ahead of the
landmark May 11 general elections.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban has vowed to target secular parties like the PPP and Awami National Party.
President Asif Ali Zardari and caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso condemned the attack on Janan.
Khoso directed authorities to further tighten security for candidates, public meetings, rallies and the people.
Zardari said such cowardly acts by militants could not deter the people from participating in the elections and would further strengthen the resolve of democratic forces.
First Published: Tuesday, May 07, 2013, 14:41