70 killed, 120 hurt in Pakistan election campaign bombing


The deadliest attacks in Pakistan's troubled election campaign killed at least 128 people, including a candidate, on Friday.

Witnesses said that Siraj Raisani of the regional Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was preparing to address hundreds of supporters in the Mastung district when the bomber near the stage detonated explosives strapped to his body.

The blast in Baluchistan left 128 dead, making it the most deadly attack in Pakistan in over three years, while five people died in the roadside bomb attack in Bannu. He was the former chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the restive province in northwest Pakistan that borders Afghanistan.

Mr Khan condemned the attack on his rival, tweeting: "Strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Akram Durrani & his convoy".

It said the national flag will fly at half-mast tomorrow to mourn the deaths of almost 150 people in the recent terrorist strikes ahead of the July 25 general elections.

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But Ushakov told reporters on Friday that the U.S. side in the summit may raise the issue of alleged election meddling. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stopped short of calling for a cancellation.

Pakistan's campaign until this week had been relatively peaceful, compared with frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban during the 2013 election, which saw 170 people killed, according to statistics from the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies.

Raisani, who was a candidate from PB-35 (Mastung), was among those killed in the attack.

The Islamic State's Amaq News Agency claimed that the group was responsible for carrying out the bombing.

It was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on July 25, and underscored the fragility of Pakistan's dramatic gains in security.

Caretaker Home Minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told The Associated Press another 120 people were wounded in Friday's bombing. Hospital officials said on Friday that the toll in that attack had risen to 22.

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But she added that other issues also would come into play for her, including "judicial temperament" and "judicial philosophy". Those protesting are calling on Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to reject the nomination.

Days earlier a bomb claimed by the Pakistani Taleban targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar on Tuesday.

The military has warned of security threats in the run-up to the tense election on July 25, and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

Durrani is a candidate for Muttahida Majlis-e Amal, an election alliance of radical religious groups.

In a letter written to the authority, the commission had said it should be briefed about the security arrangements for political parties and overall security situation in the country, the ARY news said.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the July 10 attack that killed 20 people, including Haroon Ahmed Bilour, a candidate for a seat in the provincial legislature.

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That could take months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts through October. Attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Two of Pakistan's most popular political figures, Sharif and his daughter Maryam - his political heir - were arrested by anti-corruption police at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore moments after they arrived from London, where Sharif's wife is in a hospital receiving treatment for lymphoma.