The Latest: Suicide attack kills 12 at Pakistan rally
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Latest on Pakistan’s preparations for elections later this month (all times local):
Police in Pakistan say a suicide bomber has killed a secular party leader and 11 supporters during an election rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Officer Iqbal Khan says the bomber struck a Tuesday night rally for Haroon Ahmed Bilour, an Awami National Party candidate for a provincial seat. He says another 35 people were wounded in the attack, including Bilour’s 16-year-old son.
The ANP governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital, from 2008 to 2013. The military waged a major offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in 2009. Islamic extremists killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013 election.
Bilour’s father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the election.
Pakistan will hold national and provincial elections on July 25
Pakistan’s army spokesman says the military will deploy more than 371,000 security forces to polling stations to ensure free, fair and transparent national elections on July 25.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told reporters Tuesday the military will not be directly involved in the voting process.
He said the army decided to deploy 371,388 troops at the request of the country’s elections oversight body to ensure order during the election.
Ghafoor asked people to vote for the candidates or parties of their choice without any fear.
His comments come days after former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accused a spy agency of pressuring one of his candidates to change his political loyalty. Ghafoor says there is no truth to the allegation.