Death toll leaps to 128 in Pakistan bombing

Siraj Raisani

Siraj Raisani

Provincial caretaker home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai said about 300 people were also wounded on Friday when the bomber targeted a rally for candidate Siraj Raisani, who was running for a seat in the provincial legislature.

A senior provincial government official also confirmed the figure, adding that 150 others were injured in the attack.

ISIS's AMAQ news agency provided no further detail or evidence for its claim. The bombing was the biggest attack in Pakistan in more than a year and the third incident of election-related violence this week.

Police had earlier said that the attack targeted Raisani's convoy but later changed their statement as video footage of a large tent showing damage from the blast was circulated.

The former chief minister, whose name is in the list forwarded to the Interior Ministry by NACTA, was leaving a corner meeting when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a motorcycle some 50 metres away from the venue went off.

At least four people were killed and 10 injured in an explosion near a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) convoy headed back from an election rally here on Friday morning.

BANNU: Peoples shifting injured person to hospital after attack. But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow anything to prevent "historic" elections from taking place.

Local media confirmed the death toll, quoting Balochistan's Home Minister Agha Umar Bangalzai.

Before that, on 7 July, seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.

Haroon Bilour, a senior secular politician and candidate for a provincial assembly seat, was among those killed in Tuesday's bombing. No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor in a tweet condemned the gruesome attacks in Mastung and went on to declare that, "Pakistan has lost a highly devoted & capable politician,".

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

Their return could shake up an election race marred by accusations Pakistan's powerful military is working behind the scenes to skew the contest in favor of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan, who describes Sharif as a "criminal" who deserves no support.

The MMA is a coalition of religious parties based in Pakistan's northwest.

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