Asia Pacific / Politics

Bomb targeting convoy of Pakistani politician Akram Khan Durrani, running against Imran Khan, kills four

AFP-JIJI

At least four people were killed and 39 injured after a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated as a Pakistani politician’s convoy passed by Friday, police said, as the country gears up for an election.

The bomb near the northwestern town of Bannu was targeting the convoy of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidate Akram Khan Durrani, who survived the attack, police said.

“The bomb was planted in a motorcycle,” regional police officer Kareem Khan told AFP. Other local authorities confirmed the attack.

The MMA is a coalition of religious parties based in Pakistan’s northwest.

Durrani is running against cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) is one of the front-runners in the July 25 vote.

“Strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Akram Durrani and his convoy,” Khan tweeted after the attack.

“There seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the 25 July elections but the people of Pakistan will not allow any design intended to target these historic elections to succeed,” he continued.

The blast comes days after a bomb claimed by the Pakistani Taliban targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar on Tuesday. Hospital officials said Friday that the toll in that attack had risen to 22.

Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among those killed. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

Pakistan’s security has dramatically improved in recent years, with the military cracking down on militancy that has cost tens of thousands of lives in the past decade.

But analysts have long warned that the country has not tackled the root causes of extremism.