Taliban Murders Top Political Candidate Just Days Before Election


A Pakistani candidate running on the same party as prospective prime minister Imran Khan, who campaigned for the Pakistan Justice Movement, was killed by a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber on Sunday.

Ikramullah Gandapur death comes days before the country’s general elections on Wednesday, where he was running for a seat in the provincial assembly.

Gandapur was leaving a campaign meeting in the city of Dera Ismail Khan when 22 pounds of explosives targeting his vehicle were detonated, injuring two police officers who were with the candidate and his driver, law enforcement officials told Reuters.

Gandapur’s security detail was increased to include 11 more policemen after he received death threats, but the police were not aware of his campaign meeting on Sunday, police official Zahoor Afridi told Reuters on Sunday.

In a separate attack on Sunday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy was attacked in Bannu, but no one was hurt, according to ABC News.

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Durrani, a member of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal party, survived a suicide bombing earlier in July that killed four and injured 32 as he was traveling between political rallies.

The election season has been violent and tumultuous throughout July, as both the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for multiple attacks across the country that killed several political candidates at rallies and political gatherings.

The largest attack occurred on July 13, when 149 people were killed and 180 wounded in a bombing at an election rally in Mastung region, which killed Baluchistan Awami Party provincial candidate Siraj Raisani. Raisani was addressing a crowd of supporters under a tent when a bomb detonated.

Haroon Bilour, a candidate for the Awami National Party was also killed by a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber in Peshawar earlier in July. The blast killed at least 20 people and injured 63 others.

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The Pakistani government has postponed the vote for the provincial assembly seat that Gandapur was running for following his death and is to be rescheduled at a later date, ABC reported.

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