ANP leader among three others killed in Peshawar blast

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Tuesday's attack killed his son Haroon Bilour, a candidate for the provincial assembly.

The bomber blew himself up near Haroon Bilour during fireworks, police said. Extremists killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013 election.

The ANP leader's funeral prayers will be offered at Wazir Bagh Peshawar at 5:00 pm on Wednesday.

Haroon Bilour was one of the ANP's election candidates and belonged to an influential political family in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital.

Zulfiqar Ali Babakhel, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital, confirmed the death toll from the blast saying that 47 wounded persons were brought to the hospital. This was the first major incident of violence ahead of the elections in Pakistan.

Police said that the head of the suspected suicide bomber has been found from the rooftop of a building, adding that almost eight kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the attack.

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The attack on a meeting of the Awami National party (ANP) in Peshawar also injured almost 50 others, said city police chief Jamil Qazi.

On the other hand, ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the government had failed to provide security to the party.

An army spokesperson said on Tuesday the military will deploy more than 371,000 security forces to polling stations to ensure free, fair and transparent national elections on July 25. "We were waiting at the venue when we heard an explosion as soon as Bilour's vehicle approached the gate", he said.

Haroon, who was ANP's candidate for the PK-78 constituency of Peshawar, was the son of Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a senior ANP figure who was martyred in a suicide blast in Peshawar in 2012. These groups have often targeted political parties and leaders who oppose their views.

The ANP, which campaigns against the Taliban, has been a regular target of militants operating in Pakistan's northwest. Officials have said that while the threat remains, terrorists have been significantly weakened because of military operations in recent years.

Although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the city of Peshawar has for decades been a victim of militancy due to its status as a frontline for the ongoing war against terrorism as well as its proximity to the restless tribal areas and the Pak-Afghan border.

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