High-level investigation team formed to probe Peshawar blast

High-level investigation team formed to probe Peshawar blast

Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroon Bilour was killed in the late Tuesday blast in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The bombing came hours after the Pakistan military spokesman warned about security threats ahead of the national elections. Footage showed volunteers and police rushing the wounded to hospital.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack.

Mr Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, also a senior figure within the leftist secular party, was killed in a Taliban suicide blast at a party meeting in 2012.

The ANP governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital, from 2008 to 2013.

The Pakistani Taliban appointed Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud as their new chief shortly thereafter.

The city is considered a gateway to Pakistan's troubled semi-autonomous tribal regions, where many terror groups - including al Qaeda - operated until the government launched operations to oust them.

Militants have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even schools in Peshawar. ANP leader Iftikhar Hussain said the funeral prayers of Haroon Bilour will be offered on Wednesday at 5pm at Wazir Bagh in Peshawar.

An AFP reporter saw human remains, shoes, broken chairs, and caps littered at the scene. "I lost consciousness after the blast", he said. "The last thing I saw was a big ball of fire", he said.

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.

According to a tweet by Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Army Chief shared grief of Bilour family and ANP on condemnable targeting of Haroon Bilour & victims of heinous terrorist attack. This is the second attack before Pakistan's assembly elections.

The caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk has ordered authorities to ensure peace during the July 25 vote.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, said 371,388 troops - almost a third of the total armed forces - would be deployed to provide security for the upcoming vote.

These groups have often targeted political parties and leaders opposed to their views. Officials have said that while the threat remains, militants have been significantly weakened because of military operations in recent years.

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