A suicide bomber blew himself up at an anti-Taliban political party’s rally in north-west Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 12 people, including a candidate for elections due to be held on 25 July, police said.
The attack on a meeting of the Awami National party (ANP) in Peshawar also injured nearly 50 others, said city police chief Jamil Qazi.
The ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks in the 2013 election campaign, during which a senior party leader, Bashir Bilour, was killed in a suicide bombing. Tuesday’s attack killed his son Haroon Bilour, a candidate for the provincial assembly.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Footage showed volunteers and police rushing the wounded to hospital.
The Pakistani Taliban, a loosely aligned umbrella group of several militant and sectarian bands, has been waging a war against the Pakistani state for over a decade, killing tens of thousands of people.
They want nuclear-armed Pakistan to be a state run under their harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
The violence has decreased in recent months after several military offensives against their strongholds in the region. But many militants have escaped to neighbouring Afghanistan, from where Islamabad alleges they launch attacks inside Pakistan.
Last month, a US drone strike killed the Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah, who had claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against the ANP in the 2013 election on the grounds that it had supported military operations against the militants.
The army announced on Tuesday it would deploy over 371,000 troops to ensure peaceful and fair and free elections.
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