85 killed in Pakistan blast, targeted at political rally (Third Lead)
Islamabad : At least 85 people, including a political leader, were killed in a horrific suicide bombing targeted at a rally in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Friday. It was the third such attack on election candidates in the run up to the July 25 general elections.
Caretaker provincial Health Minister confirmed the deaths, the minister said that nearly 150 people were wounded in the blast.
Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Siraj Raisani, a candidate of the recently-formed BAP, is the younger brother of former Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani.
Balochistan security forces told the media that Siraj was attacked during a corner meeting organised for the promotion of his candidature. Siraj's death was confirmed by his brother Lashkari Raisani.
In July 2011, Siraj Raisani lost his 14-year-old son in a terrorist attack in Mastung, in which several others, including security personnel, were killed.
Balochistan's Civil Defence Director Aslam Tareen said 16 to 20 kg of explosives and ball bearings were used in the attack.
Civil Hospital spokesperson Waseem Baig said the hospital received 53 bodies and 73 wounded. At least 20 of those injured were in critical condition.
The Mastung bombing was the latest, and deadliest, of a string of attacks targeting politically exposed persons ahead of the July 25 election.
Earlier on Friday, a blast targeted former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani's convoy in Bannu. While Durrani remained safe, four people were killed and 32 others injured in the attack.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has postponed polling for the constituency from where Siraj was contesting.
Earlier this week, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar.
The attack was owned up by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Before that, on July 7, seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.
There was also an attack on PTI candidate's office in North Waziristan's Razmak tehsil that had injured 10.