Condemnations poured in on Twitter soon after the tragic news of Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour’s martyrdom during an election rally in Peshawar broke on Tuesday night.
11 others were martyred and 35 injured in the suicide bomb attack targeting his rally in a congested neighbourhood of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital shortly before the midnight.
His father, Bashir Bilour was also martyred in a suicide bombing targeting his rally in the fabled Qissa Khawani bazaar of Peshawar in December 2012. The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan strongly condemned the attack at the ANP corner meeting. He said that all political parties and their candidates must be provided security during their election campaigns by the state.
He also said that Bilour lost his father in the last election and now his children have lost their father in this one.
While the PTI leader Shireen Mizari said that “Heart wrenching to learn Haroon’s young 16-year-old son also died – Bashir Bilour, Haroon Bilour and Danyal Bilour: three generations lost to terrorists who seem to act with impunity. This is our nation’s tragedy”.
Mosharraf Zaidi, head of Alif Ailaan, also condemned the attack and said that “the horror continues for the Bilour family”.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza strongly condemned attack on ANP leader Haroon Bilour.
“This shows weakness of our security institutions and a conspiracy against transparent elections,” he said in a statement.
Terming it the ‘peak of terrorism’, ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the attack is aimed at derailing democratic system in the country and a conspiracy to delay upcoming general elections.
PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique termed the incident a “heinous and reprehensible attack,” adding that “every Pakistani is grieving with the victims’ families”.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Faisal Sabzwari expressed sorrow on the great loss and paid rich tribute to the departed souls. He called Haroon the “Martyred son of a Martyred father”.
The blast occurred near the vehicle of Bilour in Yakatoot area of Peshwar. The casualties were driven to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), where medics confirmed the death toll.
Haroon Bilour was approaching the rally organised in connection with his election campaign on Circular Road when the explosion took place.