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Pakistanis mourn after bombing at rally kills 128

16 July 2018

Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Siraj Raisani was among those martyred in the suicide blast that ripped through the election rally when he took the stage.

Pakistani and global rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in the country's politics by keeping Sharif out of power.

He and his daughter Maryam, who was sentenced to seven years, were taken to jail upon their return. "Some people are calling Congress 'bail gaadi, ' not bullock cart, because some of its top leaders and former ministers are out on bail", Modi said at an election rally in Rajasthan.

Injured are taken to hospital after a suicide bomber hits Pakistan
Image The injured are taken to hospital after a suicide bomber hits Baluchistan

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to its news agency, but gave no reason for bombing Mr Raisani. "We'd like to know what his dear friend, PM Modi has to say about this", the Congress tweeted along with a photograph of Modi and Sharif walking together holding hands during Modi's visit to Lahore in December 2015.

Sharif's son-in-law is now serving a 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.

Mr Sharif has been banned from participating in politics, and his brother Shahbaz is now the head of the Pakistan Muslim League, running for re-election on 25 July.

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The attack was the deadliest since Taliban militants assaulted a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014, killing over 150 people, mostly children, and one of the deadliest in Pakistan's long struggle with militancy.

The explosion targeted candidate Akram Khan Durrani, who escaped unhurt, and wounded 20 people, said local police chief Rashid Khan.

Emergency management declared at hospitalsPakistan was in shock on Saturday after asuicide blast killed 128 people, shaking confidence in security just as the dramatic arrest of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif ratcheted political tensions higher ahead of nationwide polls.

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Mr Durrani is running against popular former politician Imran Kan and is a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an election alliance of radical religious groups.

"There seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the 25 July elections but the people of Pakistan will not allow any design meant to target these historic elections to succeed".

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Pakistanis mourn after bombing at rally kills 128