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Attack on political rally in Pakistan kills at least 35: NPR

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In this photo courtesy of Rescue 1122 Head Quarters, rescue workers carry an injured man after a bomb exploded in Bajur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan on Sunday.

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In this photo courtesy of Rescue 1122 Head Quarters, rescue workers carry an injured man after a bomb exploded in Bajur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan on Sunday.

PA

KHAR, Pakistan — A powerful bomb ripped through a gathering of supporters of a hardline cleric and political leader in the country’s northwest Bajur district, which borders Afghanistan, on Sunday, police and state officials said. health. At least 35 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

Senior Police Officer Nazir Khan said Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema Islam party workers’ convention was taking place on the outskirts of Khar, the capital of Bajur district, when the blast occurred.

Police initially said 10 people were killed, but later more bodies were transferred to a hospital, bringing the death toll to 35. He said some of the injured were taken to the the city’s main hospital in critical condition and that the death toll could rise.

Azam Khan, head of the emergency room at the main hospital in Khar, said 35 bodies had been brought to the hospital and some had been brought back by relatives as the number of injured now exceeded 100 , as those who previously went to nearby small clinics for medical help. consequently brought to the main government hospital.

Government Administrator Mohibullah Khan Yousufzai also said the death toll had risen to 35 and the number of injured was well over 100. He said the seriously injured were being airlifted to the provincial capital, Peshawar, for better medical care.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group operates across the border in Afghanistan.

Maulana Ziaullah, the local leader of Rehman’s party, was among the dead. Senator Abdur Rasheed and former lawmaker Maulana Jamaluddin were also on the scene but escaped unscathed. Party officials said Rehman was not in the rally.

Rehman is considered a pro-Taliban cleric and his political party is part of the coalition government in Islamabad. It is not known if Rehman was present. Meetings are organized throughout the country to mobilize supporters for the upcoming elections.

Bajur, once a tribal region but now a district, has been a haven for Islamic militants until recent years when the Pakistani military carried out massive operations to root out militancy from the tribal region. Militants still often attack security forces and civilians.

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