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Blast targeting election rally kills 128 in Pakistan

Blast targeting election rally kills 128 in Pakistan

Balochistan caretaker Health Minister Faiz Kakar told Reuters that the death toll had risen to 85 people, with over 120 wounded. "These attacks are cowardly attempts to deprive the Pakistani people of their democratic rights", US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Mr Sharif has encouraged people to continue supporting the party and said he is not afraid of prison.

Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, who was campaigning for an assembly seat in the southern province of Balochistan, was killed in the bomb blast along with dozens of others, Balochistan Home Secretary Haider Ali Shikoh told CNN.

The funeral prayers of Raisani were held in Quetta this evening with hundreds of people in attendance following which he was laid to rest in his hometown of Kanak in Mastung.

The incident took place in Bannu area of the province targeting the vehicle of the former chief minister and Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazal candidate Akram Khan Durrani.

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"In view of the tragic incident of terrorist attacks at Peshawar, Mastung and Bannu, the federal government has announced the observation of one day official mourning throughout the country".

Men mourn the death of relatives and party workers, who were killed after a suicide attack during an election campaign meeting, at hospital morgue in Quetta, Pakistan July 13, 2018. So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack.

Hospitals in the area have been placed under "emergency" management after being overwhelmed in the hours after the attack, with around 150 also injured in the blast - many of them still in critical condition after suffering head trauma.

Underscoring the security threat, were Friday's bombings that killed 69 people in the latest election related violence.

Sharif has claimed he is the victim of a military conspiracy, and there are widespread allegations from the media, politicians and analysts that the powerful security establishment is meddling in the polls.

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Two of Pakistan's most popular political figures, Sharif and his daughter Maryam - his political heir - were arrested by anti-corruption police at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore moments after they arrived from London, where Sharif's wife is in a hospital receiving treatment for lymphoma. They said that around 16-20 kilogram of explosives were used in the attack, PTI reported.

The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission.

The deadliest attack in several years in Pakistan, a suicide bomber detonated at an election rally in Mastung, in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 128 people, and wounding an estimated 300 others.

In a video message on Friday reportedly from aboard his aircraft en route to Pakistan, Sharif said he was returning knowing he would be taken directly to prison.

Days earlier a bomb claimed by the Pakistani Taliban targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar on Tuesday.

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