ISLAMABAD: Police officials in Peshawar told Arab News the death toll from a likely targeted attack on ANP’s (Awami National Party) corner meeting gathering late Tuesday evening has risen to at least 12 dead and 36 injured. Officials fear the number could rise and are investigating the bombing site.
Haroon Bilour, son of assassinated senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour killed in 2012 in a suicide attack also in Peshawar was among the dead.
After Bilour received multiple critical injuries, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He succumbed to his wounds shortly after. Several people, wounded during the blast, were said to be in critical condition at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.
The party’s leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain condemned the attack and called it the pinnacle of terrorism, reported a local tv network. He said the aim of this heinous act is to derail the democratic system in Pakistan and a conspiracy to postpone the July 25 scheduled elections.
A bystander described the anger of people at the venue. He told Arab News that a crowd is chanting anti-police slogans following the attack, a security lapse which cost several lives despite the umbrella counter terrorism authority NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) which pools information from all law enforcement and intelligence agencies had issued alerts of potential threats last week.
The bombing on Tuesday evening came following NACTA’s briefing to a Senate Committee on Interior on Monday warning of possible terror threats to prominent electoral candidates.
Six leading political contenders in Pakistan’s July 25 poll are being targeted by terrorists, according to the country’s counter terrorism watchdog.