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

Suicide bomber kills ANP candidate, supporters at election rally

Peshawar Police Chief Qazi Jamil confirmed Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour was among the persons who died in the attack.

Barrister Haroon Bilour was son on Bashir Ahmed Bilour, who was also martyred in suicide attack in Qissa Khawani Bazaar in December 2012, and nephew of another ANP stalwart Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. Rescue staff reached the spot and shifted the bodies and wounded people to Lady Reading Hospital.

Haroon Bilour was ANP candidate for a provincial seat for the upcoming general elections to be held on July 25 general.

Haroon Bilour was approaching the rally organised in connection with his election campaign on Circular Road when the explosion took place.

The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast.

Haroon Bilour was one of the ANP's election candidates and belonged to an influential political family in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital. This is the second attack before Pakistan's assembly elections.

Although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the city of Peshawar has for decades been a victim of militancy due to its status as a frontline for the ongoing war against terrorism as well as its proximity to the restless tribal areas and the Pak-Afghan border.

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They have often been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and their allies.

The Pakistan Army announced on Tuesday it would deploy over 371,000 troops to ensure peaceful and fair and free elections on July 25.

According to the police, the vehicle of Haroon Bilour was the main target of the bomber. Islamic extremists killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013 election.

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.

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 constituency.

The leaders include Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's son Talha, Asfandayar Wali Khan, and senior leadership of other parties.

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