ANP leader Haroon Bilour laid to rest in Peshawar


PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour, who was martyred in a suicide attack a day ago, was laid to rest in Peshawar on Wednesday.

Bilour’s funeral prayers were earlier offered in the Wazir Bagh area.

Haroon Bilour was among 20 people martyred in a suicide attack, which took place in Peshawar on Tuesday night in the Yakatoot neighbourhood — moments after Bilour arrived there to address a corner meeting. 

Presently, 62 people injured in the suicide attack are seeking treatment at Lady Reading Hospital, authorities confirmed.

The deceased ANP leader was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar's PK-78 constituency.

The son of Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a senior ANP figure who, himself, was martyred in a suicide attack in 2012 after a party meeting, Haroon was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition but succumbed to his wounds shortly after.

The ANP leader was 47 years old.

After the incident, a case was registered at police station Agha Mir Jani Shah, with SHO Wajid Ali as the complainant.

 Security officials gather at the site of a suicide bombing at an ANP rally in Peshawar on July 10, 2018. Photo: AFP

ECP postpones polls in PK-78

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 (Peshawar-XIII) constituency.

The polls have been postponed due to the death of the PK-78 candidate, the electoral body said, adding that the new schedule for the said constituency will be announced later. 

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council has also announced a three-day mourning in light of the attack, with lawyers beginning the boycott of court proceedings today. 

Two bodies yet to be identified 

A list of all those killed in the explosion has also been released, however, two bodies are yet to be identified. 

Aside from Haroon Bilour, others killed in the explosion have been identified as Asif Khan, 28, Muhammad Shoaib, 19, Muhammad Naeem, Yaseen, Haji Muhammad Gul, 45, Najeeb ullah, 20, Abid ullah, 30, Huzaifa, 12, Arif Hussain, 25, Akhtar Gul, 18, Imran, 30, Khan Muhammad, 30, Rizwan, Zameer Khan, Israr, Sameen and Sadiq.

The funeral prayers of 10 of the deceased were offered earlier, following which they were buried. 

COAS condemns targeting of Haroon Bilour 

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the targeting of Haroon Bilour, according to a social media post by Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor. 

"We are fighting against nexus of inimical forces which aren’t willing to absorb a peaceful and stable Pakistan. We remain undeterred and shall defeat them," the COAS remarked. 

Moreover, the United States embassy also condemned the attack in a social media post. 

"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack in Peshawar against civilians campaigning for this month's elections. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and hope for the speedy recovery of those who were wounded," the embassy said in a statement. 

ANP — on the target list 

The ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks around the 2013 election, with scores of workers and candidates killed in terrorist attacks across the country.

Last month, a US drone strike killed the Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah, who had claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against the ANP in the 2013 election on the grounds that it had supported operations against the militants.

The Pakistan Army announced on Tuesday it would deploy over 371,000 troops to ensure peaceful and fair and free elections on July 25.