9 killed, 30 injured in blasts in northwest Pakistan

Two bomb blasts outside campaign offices of candidates contesting Pakistan’s general election killed nine persons and injured more than 30 in northwest Pakistan today.

The first blast occurred outside an election office in Kohat district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The Police said a remote-controlled explosive device was used in the attack. Six persons were killed and 21 injured by the explosion, which caused extensive damage to the office of Syed Noor Akbar, an independent candidate contesting polls to a parliamentary seat in Orakzai tribal region.

The Police said Akbar is a member of the minority Shia sect and this could have been a motive for the attack. Hours later, another bomb went off outside an election office in Maqsoodabad, a suburb of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Three persons were killed and 10 others, including three children, injured, the police said. The blast targeted the office of Nasir Khan Afridi, an independent candidate contesting polls to a parliamentary seat in the lawless Khyber tribal region.

The Police officials said the bomb was attached to a bicycle left outside the office. The office and two cars were damaged. Footage on television showed debris and election materials strewn on the road outside the office. No group claimed responsibility for both bombings. The attacks came a day after six persons were killed and 65 others injured in three bomb attacks that targeted workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan People’s Party in Karachi.

Most of the candidates contesting polls from Pakistan’s tribal belt have set up election offices in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa. Candidates are unable to campaign in the tribal areas because of threats from the Taliban and other militant groups. They have focussed on wooing voters in towns and villages located along the boundary with the seven semi-autonomous tribal agencies.

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