At least 39 killed, several hurt in bomb blast during political rally in Pakistan – Times of India

NEW DELHI: At least 39 people were killed and nearly 200 wounded when a suicide bomber triggered a powerful blast during a rally for a hard-line cleric in northwest Pakistan.

The explosion took place at the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) workers’ convention in Bajaur’s Khar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
The JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the province’s caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan to investigate the incident. He also urged the party workers to reach the hospital and donate blood.

“JUI workers should remain peaceful and federal and provincial governments should provide the best treatment to the injured,” said Fazl.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, who is also a central member of JUIF, confirmed the death toll.
“A senior leader from the party was due to address the ceremony, but before his arrival a bomb explosion took place,” Akhtar Hayat Gandapur, the inspector general of police for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said.
The police said that those who were injured have been shifted to a nearby hospital. The condition of the majority of the injured people was stated to be critical.
Law enforcement agencies have cordoned off the area.
Speaking to Geo News, JUI-F leader Hafiz Hamdullah said he was supposed to attend the convention today but could not because of some personal commitments.
“I strongly condemn the blast and want to give a message to the people behind it that this is not jihad but terrorism,” the JUI-F leader said, adding that it was an attack on humanity and Bajaur.
He demanded that the blast should be probed, recalling that this was not the first that the JUI-F had been targetted.
“This has happened before…our workers have been targetted. We raised our voice over this in the Parliament but no action was taken.”
Hamdullah also extended his condolences to grieving families and urged the provincial government to provide the best medical facilities to the injured.
(With inputs from agencies)

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