ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday suspended its election campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province for one day to express solidarity with the Awami National Party and to mourn the death of ANP candidate Haroon Bilour and his supporters in a suicide attack in Peshawar on Tuesday.
Talking to Dawn here on Wednesday, PTI’s information secretary Fawad Chaudhry said the party had announced one-day mourning over the tragic incident across the country and suspended its election campaign in KP for one day.
ANP’s senior leader and provincial assembly candidate for PK-78 Haroon Bilour and 12 other people were killed and 34 others were injured in a suicide attack on the corner meeting of ANP at around midnight on Tuesday.
This was the first incident of terrorism targeting the ongoing election campaign.
The suicide bombing took place in the Yakatut area of the city, where Mr Bilour was attending the meeting. Former senator Ilyas Bilour was also present at the election camp, but he luckily survived.
Mr Haroon was also ANP’s provincial information secretary and son of ANP stalwart Bashir Ahmed Bilour, who was also killed in a suicide attack in December 2012.
Leaders of almost all political parties condemned the incident and questioned the performance of law-enforcement agencies.
The attack, whose responsibility has reportedly been claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has taken place two weeks before the nation is set to go to the polls and the incident has created unrest among political parties and their candidates.
The political parties have expressed serious concern over the incident as the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had already issued a security alert and warned of attacks on politicians, most of them belonging to KP including ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.
Mr Chaudhry said the party flags remained half-mast throughout the country over the incident as the entire nation was in a state of mourning.
He said the PTI had decided to express its solidarity with the ANP and the Bilour family.
Mr Chaudhry said that the PTI was the only party in the country which practically expressed its solidarity with the ANP by announcing a day of mourning and suspending its election campaign in the KP province.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018