At least three persons were killed and 18 injured in a suicide attack in the troubled Swat valley in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, the second such attack in the region two days ahead of Monday's general election.
The suicide bomber blew himself up at the government media centre in Mingora, the main town of Swat district in the North West Frontier Province.
Officials said gunfire erupted in Mingora and adjoining areas soon after the blast. Security forces cordoned off all entry points to the area.
Shortly before the attack in Mingora, 38 people were killed when a suicide attacker rammed his explosive-laden car into the office of an election candidate at Parachinar, the headquarters of the Kurram Agency that borders the NWFP.
Over 100 people were also injured in the attack at Parachinar on the election office of Riaz Hussain Shah, a candidate of the Pakistan People's Party. No group claimed responsibility for the two attacks.
Today's suicide bombings were the latest in a string of such attacks on election rallies and candidates in Pakistan. PPP chief and former premier Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack on December 27 and the violence that erupted after her death prompted the Election Commission to postpone the polls by six weeks.
The Pakistan government has deployed nearly 500,000 security personnel, including 81,000 soldiers, to maintain law and order during the polls.