Peshawar suicide blast death toll rises to 20; Funeral prayers of 11 victims offered, ECP postpones polls in PK-78 (Peshawar-XIII) constituency

PESHAWAR, July 11 (INP): The death toll in the Peshawar suicide attack, which claimed the life of Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour on Wednesday increased to 20 as funeral prayers of 11 persons, who were martyred in Yakatut blast were offered.

A large number of residents of the area attended funeral prayers of the victim.

According to details, the death toll in the Peshawar suicide attack, which claimed the life of Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour jumped to 20 on Wednesday. Presently, 62 people injured in the suicide attack are under treatment at Lady Reading Hospital, authorities confirmed. The explosion occurred late Tuesday night in the Yakatoot neighbourhood moments after Bilour arrived to address a corner meeting. ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 14 martyred in Peshawar suicide blast The son of Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a senior ANP figure who, himself, was martyred in a suicide attack in 2012 after a party meeting, Haroon was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition but succumbed to his wounds shortly after. Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 (Peshawar-XIII) constituency. The polls have been postponed due to the death of the PK-78 candidate, the electoral body said, adding that the new schedule for the said constituency will be announced later. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council has also announced a three-day mourning in light of the attack, with lawyers boycotted court proceedings today. A list of all those killed in the explosion has also been released, however, two bodies have yet to be identified. Aside from Haroon Bilour, others killed in the explosion have been identified as Asif Khan, Muhammad Shoaib, Muhammad Naeem, Yaseen, Haji Muhammad Gul, Najeebullah, Abidullah, Arif Hussain, Akhtar Gul, Imran, Rizwan, Zameer Khan, Asrar, Sameen, Sadiq, Huzaifa, and Khan Muhammad. Speaking about the incident earlier, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retired) Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan condemned the terrorist attack and termed it a “weakness of security institutions”. The attack was a conspiracy against the transparent elections, the CEC said, noting that the provincial governments were ordered to provide fool-proof security to all candidates. On the other hand, ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the government had failed to provide security to the party. “Perhaps someone wishes to sabotage the elections … wants to push ANP out of the electoral race,” he said. However, the “ANP will fully participate in the elections”, he added. The ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks around the 2013 election, with scores of workers and candidates killed in terrorist attacks across the country. INP/LK/AJ