Blast targeting election rally kills 128 in Pakistan

Blast targeting election rally kills 128 in Pakistan

Siraj Raisani, a candidate running for a provincial assembly, was among those killed in the town of Mastung.

Authorities are calling the attacks the deadliest attacks in the country's history.

Sharif's son-in-law is now serving his one-year prison sentence on the same charge, which stems from the purchase of luxury apartments in Britain that the court said were bought with illegally acquired money.

Meanwhile, Sharif arrived in the eastern city of Lahore from London where he was visiting his ailing wife when a Pakistani court convicted him and his daughter of corruption.

They were later taken to Islamabad from where they are expected to launch an appeal and apply for bail.

Sharif supporters accuse the military establishment of attempting to tilt the playing field to ensure his party does not return to power in the July 25 elections.

At least 128 people, including Raisani, were killed in the deadly blast, police officials said.

After the incident, a large contingent of security forces cordoned off the area with the injured shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta, where an emergency was imposed. Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk announced Sunday as a mourning day across the country to pay respect to lives lost in the Bannu and Mastung attacks.

Barricades and barbed wire were placed across roads toward the airport to prevent crowds.

Explosion in Pakistan leaves at least 36 dead, wounded

Sharif's return is set to increase political tensions as his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz seeks to fend off a challenge from the party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan at the polls.

"Initially the death toll was not high but many critically injured persons including Siraj Raisani passed away in hospitals", Balochistan's caretaker health minister Faiz Kakar said.

The military denied the accusations, saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's election commission.

It came hours after another bomb killed at least four people at a campaign rally in Bannu in the country's northwest.

The military has already warned of a security threat in the run-up to the vote, and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

On July 10, Awami National Party (ANP) leader and candidate for the forthcoming elections Haroon Bilour and 12 others were martyred and almost three dozens injured in a suicide bomb attack targeting an ANP rally in a congested neighbourhood of Peshawar. Reports say that around 1000 people were in attendance at the political meeting.

A Pakistani man injured in a bomb blast at an election rally is brought to a hospital in Quetta, July 13, 2018.

Pakistan's army will deploy about 371,000 troops on election day, nearly three times the number in 2013, to protect the polling places.

He admitted that the massacre in Mastung would affect voter turnout in the election, though he pointed out that "security institutions have already taken steps to restore people's confidence in the election process".

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