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Roadside bomb kills Pakistan political party official

world Updated: Apr 14, 2013 23:58 IST

AFP
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A roadside bomb planted by the Taliban in restive northwest Pakistan killed a political party official on Sunday, a month before the country votes in a historic general election.

The blast in the Swat valley, which was ruled by the Pakistani Taliban during a 2007-9 insurgency, comes a day after militants blew up the office of an independent candidate in North Waziristan tribal district.

The attacks are the latest violence to mar the runup to national and regional elections on May 11, which will mark the country's first democratic transition of power after a civilian government has served a full term in office.

Sunday's blast killed a local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), which ruled the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from 2008 until assemblies were dissolved last month for elections.

"Mukarram Shah, a local leader of ANP, was travelling to Mingora when his vehicle was targeted by an IED (improvised explosive device), around 12kms northeast of Mingora city," Gul Afzal Afridi, the district police chief informed.

Shah was alone in his car and no-one else was hit by the explosion.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility of the attack saying all secular parties and their leaders were in their crosshairs.

"We have already announced we will attack ANP and other secular parties," Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, told AFP on phone.

Elsewhere, in the Charsadda district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, another convoy of ANP workers was struck by an IED and four people including a candidate for provincial assembly were injured.

The Pakistani Taliban have targeted a number of top ANP figures in recent months, assassinating the number two in the provincial government in December.

The militants also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on ANP rally on March 31 that killed two people and have warned they will strike again.