15 killed, about 50 injured in Pakistan bombing

Islamabad, May 6 (IANS) At least 15 people were killed and around 50 others injured on Monday afternoon in a bomb blast that targeted a political gathering in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of Kurram Agency, reported Xinhua citing local officials.

Local Urdu TV channels quoting some official sources with the local political administration of the region said that at least 15 people were killed and around 50 others injured in the attack.

According to the reports, the bomb blast took place at about 3.40 p.m. local time in the public gathering of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in the Makhrani area of Kurram Agency, one of Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

Rescue teams and security forces rushed to the site and shifted the bodies and injured to hospitals.

The people with minor injuries were sent to the distinct hospital of the area while those with serious injuries were rushed to the main hospital in Parachinar, the capital of the Kurram Agency.

At the time of the blast hundreds of people were present at the courtyard of a seminary to listen to two leaders of JUI-F, who were contesting for the country’s May 11 elections.

The bomb exploded with a big bang at the conclusion of the public gathering near the podium where both leaders including a former member of the National Assembly (the lower house) were sitting but they remained unhurt in the attack.

The additional secretary, a top bureaucrat of the tribal region, told local media that the preliminary reports showed that the blast was conducted with an improvised explosive device (IED) that was detonated with a remote control device.

No group or militant organization claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the attack and asked the concerned authorities to provide best available medical treatment to the victims on urgent basis.

Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and the leaders of the main political parties also condemned the attack and reiterated their determination that the militants would not succeed in their plans to sabotage the upcoming general elections.

Since the Pakistani government announced the schedule for the country’s general elections to be held on May 11, over two dozen political gatherings, rallies and offices of the political parties have been attacked by the militants that have killed over 90 people besides leaving over 300 others injured.

At least 118 people were killed and 377 others injured in 29 bomb blasts across Pakistan during the month of April. Out of 29 incident,s 14 bomb attack were conducted on political rallies and gatherings and offices of the different political parties, killing 62 people and injuring 233 others.

After the Pakistani government announced the schedule for the general elections, the banned militant outfit Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) warned the masses to keep away from the political gatherings of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Awami national Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the allies of Pakistan’s previous government.

Most of the attacks were claimed by the TTP but many by other militant groups, especially in the southwestern province of Balochistan. Other political parties and independent candidates also became targets of their attacks to stop them from participating the elections.

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