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Central & South Asia

Renwed bombings ahead of Pakistan vote

Series of attacks rocks northwestern cities as May 11 general elections loom closer.

Last Modified: 08 May 2013 21:18
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An explosion during a political rally has killed two people and left at least others injured in northwest Pakistan.

Wednesday's blast occurred during an election rally held by the Awami National Party (ANP) in Bajaur Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which came on the same day as a suicide bombing in the Bannu district.

That attack killed at least three and wounded 27 people.

A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives outside a police station in the city of Bannu, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing a policeman and two women, police said.

"As you see, all this destruction, all the windows and doors of the houses in a one kilometre radius have been damaged by this explosion," said Dilber Khan, a local resident who lost his house in the explosion.

"Some houses have had their roof collapse too."

Another bomb hidden in a vegetable cart exploded in a market in another northwest city, Hangu, wounding 14 people, police said.

In Balochistan, the nation's largest province, three separate attacks left 19 people injured.

General election

Overnight attacks in Sindh province killed at least two political activists and wounded six others in an attack on the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party offices in Hyderabad.

In the east, Fareed Awan, an independent candidate in Punjab province, survived an attack by unidentified armed motorcyclists in Gujranwala.

Wednesday's attacks are the latest in a series that have targeted the country's upcoming general election.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, (TTP), had specifically threatened several secular parties back in March.

The Pakistani Taliban have also condemned democracy as a whole, meaning any political party taking part in the election could be targeted.

Next week's polls mark a historic transfer of power from one democratically elected government fulfilling its full term to another, something that has never happened in Pakistan's coup-checkered history.

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