ISLAMABAD – The death toll in a suicide attack on an election rally in northeastern Pakistan reached 20 on Wednesday, a police official told EFE.
The suicide bombing on the Awami National Party (ANP) rally in Peshawar was the first attack with fatalities in the campaign for general elections on July 25, in which some 105 million people are eligible to vote.
“The death toll has reached to 20 while 66 were injured in the blast,” said Arbaz Afridi, spokesperson for the police in Peshawar, capital of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the attack took place Tuesday night.
The attack killed one of the ANP leaders, Haroon Bilour.
His father was also killed in a suicide attack in 2012, while other ANP members have been frequent targets of the Taliban over the past few years.
The ANP is a secular and leftist party that represents the Pashtuns, who make up a majority of the Taliban and a large part of population in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where it is part of the opposition after being in power from 2008-2013.
According to Afridi, the ANP staged a violent protest while the injured were being taken to the Lady Reading Hospital Tuesday night, but the situation was already under control.
According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, there has been a decline in violence in Pakistan, with 1,260 terror-related deaths in 2017, comprising 540 civilians, 208 security force members and 512 alleged terrorists, the lowest figure in a decade.