Bomb Blast Kills 10 At Election Rally In Pakistan

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Mastung, Balochistan suffered one of the deadliest attacks that the country has seen in recent years as 128 people died and over 200 are injured following a deadly suicide explosion that hit an election gathering in the Darengarh area of Mastung on Friday.

An explosion targeting a political rally in the northwestern Pakistan city of Bannu has killed ten people, police officials say, the second such attack this week, raising fears of violence ahead of a July 25 general election.

The Islamic State group has a muted presence in Pakistan but has carried out brutal attacks there in the past, including the blast at a Sufi shrine in February a year ago which killed almost 90 people.

Sharif's dramatic return from London and subsequent arrest for corruption was overshadowed as the carnage in Mastung, in the country's south-western province of Balochistan, unfolded late Friday.

"In order to get rid of these remnants of terror, there is a need of cohesion between the government, the security agencies and also the political parties", said Ali Zafar, minister of information for the caretaker government put into place after Sharif was stripped of his role as prime minister past year.

They were later taken to Islamabad from where they are expected to launch an appeal and apply for bail.

So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack.

The prime minister, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Balochistan interim Chief Minister Alauddin Marri all gathered at Sarwan House to offer fateha for Raisani and the others who lost their lives in the Mastung attack. Raisani is the younger brother of the former chief minister of Baluchistan, where separatist militants have waged a long-running insurgency against the Pakistani state.

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Officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast. "United we all Pakistanis shall IA defeat them".

Ahead of his return, police swept through Lahore, arresting scores of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport.

"Initially the death toll was not high but many critically injured persons including Siraj Raisani passed away in hospitals", Kakar said.

During his term in office, Sharif criticised the military's involvement in civilian affairs and its efforts in fighting extremists.

Pakistani and worldwide rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in Pakistani politics by keeping Sharif out of power. The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission.

Pakistan's July 25 election will mark only the third time in its history the country has had a democratic transition of power.

Senior politician Akram Khan Durrani, a candidate of the five-party religious alliance Muttehida Majlis Amal (MMA), was an apparent target of the attack but escaped unscathed, local broadcaster ARY News reported.

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