Bombings targeting politicians kill 18 in northwest Pakistan, as pre-election violence tops 100
PARACHINAR, Pakistan — Three bombings in northwest Pakistan targeting individuals involved in this week's national elections killed 18 people on Tuesday, police said, pushing the death toll from attacks on candidates and party workers to more than 100 since the beginning of April.
Two of the attacks targeted candidates from Islamist parties, indicating a new trend in the pre-election violence, which only plagued secular parties before this week.
The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for many of the attacks in the run-up to the May 11 election and specifically threatened several secular parties in March.
In the deadliest of the three attacks, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated his explosives near a vehicle carrying a candidate from a hard-line Islamist party, killing 12 people and wounding 35, police officer Haleem Khan said.
The candidate who was targeted, Mufti Syed Janan, escaped unharmed, Khan said.
A roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying Malik Behram Khan, a candidate from the Jamaat-e-Islami party. The candidate and two others survived with injuries, but his young son was killed in the blast in Upper Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, police officer Farooq Jan said.
Elsewhere in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying a local leader of a secular party — the Pakistan People's Party — in the village of Babagam in Lower Dir district, police officer Mohammed Wahid Khan said. The blast killed the leader, Zahir Shah, along with two of his guards and two supporters, Khan said.