Press Trust of india

Pak candidate killed in suicide blast

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Peshawar, Jul 22 :  A former provincial minister and senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was today killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near his car in the troubled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, police said.

Ikramullah Gandapur, a candidate for the provincial assembly seat from PK-99 constituency, was on his way to an election meeting when the bomber targeted his vehicle in Dera Ismail Khan district.

His driver was also killed in the attack while three bodyguards were badly injured, Dera Ismail Khan DPO Manzoor Afridi said.

Gandapur had sustained critical wounds in the suicide blast this morning and was rushed to a Peshawar hospital by helicopter, however he succumbed to his injuries during treatment after fighting for his life for over four hours.

Gandapur had served as the provincial agricultural minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

He was elected through a by-election on the Dera Ismail Khan PK-67 seat, after it was vacated following the death of his brother and law minister Israrullah Gandapur in a suicide attack.

Afridi said Gandapur was returning after attending a corner meeting in Kulachi tehsil when the suicide bomber blew himself up close to his vehicle in a narrow muddy street.

Soon after the blast the police and officials of the security forces cordoned off the area and started search operation.

Around the same time that Gandapur came under attack, Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani, a former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, also survived a second assassination attempt in less than 10 days.

Durrani was to address a political convention when his vehicle was ambushed by unknown gunmen in his home district Bannu, bordering North Waziristan district.

The gunmen opened indiscriminate fire on Durrani’s vehicle from the front. However, he remained unhurt in the attack.

Durrani is contesting for NA-35 under the Muttahida Majlise-e-Amal (MMA) banner against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.

This is the third attack on election candidates in Bannu district and second on Durrani ahead of the July 25 general election.

On July 13, an attack targeting JUI-F’s central general secretary killed four persons and wounded as many as 39. Durrani, however, remained unhurt in the attack.

On the same day, 149 people, including a top nationalist leader, were killed and over 200 others injured in a powerful suicide blast in Mastung area in the troubled Balochistan province.

The security situation in Pakistan has deteriorated ahead of polls. The campaigning for the general election has been hit hard by terrorist attacks claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and ISIS outfits.

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