At least 14 persons including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour were martyred in a suicide blast which targeted an election gathering of ANP in Yakatoot area of Peshawar on Tuesday night, a senior police official said.
The blast took place when Haroon Bilour, who was contesting elections from PK-78 constituency, arrived at the site where the ANP workers had gathered for a corner meeting. Bilour suffered serious injuries and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Qazi Jameel said that injured in the explosion have been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital.
A local ANP leader said that a suicide bomber blew himself when Bilour entered the compound where the meeting was being held. “According to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour… was the target,” said AIG Shafqat Malik. Bomb Disposal Squad also concluded it was suicide bombing.
The rescue teams and law enforcement agencies reached the site of the blast. Police and bomb disposal officials collected evidence from the site of the blast and initiated an investigation into the incident.
The body of Haroon Bilour was later shifted to Bilour House where ANP workers gathered in great numbers to pay respect to their deceased leader. ANP leader Iftikhar Hussain said the funeral prayers of Haroon Bilour will be offered on Wednesday at 5pm at Wazir Bagh in Peshawar.
Haroon Bilour was the son of senior ANP leader Bashir Ahmed Bilour who was also killed when a Pakistani Taliban bomber blew himself up in a party meeting in Peshawar in 2012.
The following year in 2013, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for an attack at an ANP rally in Peshawar, in which 15 people were killed. The TTP spokesperson at the time, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had told journalists that Haroon was the target, but “unfortunately Ghulam Ahmed Bilour got injured”.
The ANP, which governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from 2008 to 2013, has been a continual target of militant groups operating in the northwest. The militants killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013 election.
Earlier this month, seven people including a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal were injured in an explosion during an election rally near Takhtikhel canal.