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Central & South Asia

Deadly blasts rock Pakistan rallies

At least 16 people killed in blasts while Imran Khan reported to be injured after falling from campaign stage.

Last Modified: 07 May 2013 15:42
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An attack on a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party has killed at least six people and injured dozens more.

The explosion, in Lower Dir's Baba Gam village on Tuesday, is the latest in a string of attacks that have been designed to disrupt the nation's upcoming elections.

An IED caused the blast near a vehicle containing Zahir Khan, the brother of Muhammad Zamin Khan, the PPP candidate from the PK-96 constituency. Zahir Khan was wounded in the attack.

Elsewhere in the country, a bomb was detonated at a political party rally of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), killing at least ten people and wounding dozens more, including a provincial candidate.

The JUI rally in a bazaar in Hangu District was being lead by provincial candidate Mufti Seyd Janan, who was reportedly injured in the attack, but is not in a serious condition.

Reports indicate that children returning home from school were among the wounded.

It is thought that a bomb was planted on a motorbike and exploded by remote control near Janan's vehicle.

Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf political party, has been injured after falling from a makeshift stage during a campaign rally in Lahore.

The cricketer-turned-politician fell 14 feet as he was stepping off an improvised fork lift that was raising him to the top of the platform. Local TV station Geo TV aired footage of the accident and showed Khan bleeding and unconscious with a gash on his head.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder said that Khan is currently in a stable condition, and political party members have rushed him to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital cancer hospital. The hospital, which was set up by Khan himself, has told Al Jazeera that he is safe and they are doing further tests.

Spotlight
Coverage of 2013 general election across the politically divided South Asian nation.

JUI has historically been sympathetic to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and has previously acted as a mediator between political parties and the anti-government group.

The TTP, however, claimed responsibility for an attack on the JUI on Monday which killed 25 people and wounded 60 more.

It is thought the target of Monday's attack was candidate Munir Orakzai, who survived the blast.

Pakistan's elections are due to be held on May 11, with all campaigning to cease by May 9.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad said the violence surrounding the elections was a source of great concern.

"Between now and May 9 it will be a critical and dangerous situation," he said.

"The TTP has said it will sabotage these elections, which it believes are against Islam. Previously it has been targeting secular parties, but now it appears to be targeting religious parties as well."

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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