Pakistan government says elections will proceed despite bombing

( dpa ) - Pakistan's Interior Minister said Sunday that crucial forthcoming elections remains on track despite another suicide bombing that killed at least 20 people at a campaign rally the previous evening.

With just more than a week before parliamentary polls on February 18, which are meant to usher in the return of civilian government after eight years of military rule, the country is bracing for more violence as political parties push ahead with final rallies.

"We are going to beef up the security for the prominent political leaders and also give a larger role for law enforcement agencies," Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz said. "We have to have a good (situation) as we're eight days away. These elections are very important and they will be held on time."

He said Saturday's attack, in Charsadda district of the volatile North-West Frontier Province during a rally by the nationalist Awami National Party (ANP), was likely the work of the same Islamic extremists who killed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27 and hundreds of security forces around the country in the past year.

Nawaz said the Interior Ministry's official death toll from Saturday's attack remained at 20, but there were conflicting media reports about the number of victims, including one by DawnNews TV on Sunday that said 28 people were killed.

"I think this is the same group and the basic reason for this (attack) appears to be the disruption of the overall environment of the elections, which are just a week away," Nawaz said. "Previously, this political party had not been touched."

The suicide bomber blew himself up when around 200 ANP party workers gathered at a compound in a small village in Charsadda. More than 40 people, including 10 children and an ANP candidate for provincial assembly, were injured in the explosion.

Pakistan has seen a surge in suicide attacks that killed around 750 people in 2007 and more than 270 since New Year's Day.

In December, more than 50 people were killed in Charsadda when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque where former interior minister Aftab Sherpao was among a crowd offering prayers during the Eid ul-Adha festival. Sherpao survived the bombing.

Authorities blame pro-Taliban militants from the country's tribal belt near Afghanistan. The region is believed to be a safe haven for al-Qaeda terrorists and Taliban fighters who fled to the area after the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

Nonetheless, the country's main parties were defiantly continuing their campaigns, albeit at a slower pace, with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid drawing a crowd of at least 5,000 people Sunday to a sports complex in Mithi, in the southern province of Sindh.

On Saturday, thousands of supporters of the Pakistan People's Party attended a public meeting in Punjab province led Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's husband and party co-chairman, who resumed campaigning after concluding a 40-day mourning period for the pro-democracy icon last Thursday.

UK house price growth picks up unexpectedly in February
UK house price growth picks up unexpectedly in February
Turkmenistan names schedule of cargo flights to China, Germany for two months
Turkmenistan names schedule of cargo flights to China, Germany for two months
French Air Liquide to produce, supply technical gases to Atyrau refinery in Kazakhstan
French Air Liquide to produce, supply technical gases to Atyrau refinery in Kazakhstan
Loading Bars
Kazakhstan reveals number of agricultural investment projects on target
Turkey publishes data on cargo shipment via local ports from Iran
Azerbaijani Azerenerji reconstructing country's second largest HPP (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Kazakhstan-Indonesia trade plummets in 2020
Kyrgyzstan eyes importing electricity from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan's coal extracting venture opens tender to buy welding equipment
Kazakhstan to prepare roadmaps for implementation of investment projects
Georgia reveals inflation rate
COVID-19 pandemic boosts popularity of cashless payments in Kazakhstan
UK house price growth picks up unexpectedly in February
Kazakhstan boosts imports from Malaysia
Turkmenistan names schedule of cargo flights to China, Germany for two months
TOP-10 private companies in Azerbaijan's January 2021 non-oil export
French Air Liquide to produce, supply technical gases to Atyrau refinery in Kazakhstan
Number of projects to be implemented in textile industry in Uzbekistan’s Syrdarya region
Oil and gas sector: German, Azerbaijani companies discuss opportunities in over 70 virtual B2B meetings (PHOTO)
Prices for Azerbaijani oil announced
Kazakhstan's oil & gas company opens tender to buy power supply units
Turkish-Iranian trade turnover rises in January 2021
Turkmenistan introduces new sanitary, hygienic requirements for passenger trains
Volume of goods received at Turkish ports from Greece disclosed
German retail sales tumble in January as lockdown bites
Uzbekistan announces launch date of solar photovoltaic station in Navoi region
JP Morgan Bank boosts 2021 Brent oil price forecast
Assessment of cultural heritage of Azerbaijan's Karabakh must be objective - French MP tells
Iran in favorable position to use all joint oil, gas fields – oil minister
Azerbaijan shares footage from Khojavand's Dudukchu village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Mckinsey & Co. says oil demand to take 2-4 years to return to 2019 levels
Volume of stabilization fund stocks insufficient to curb prices - Kazakhstan's minister
Turkish president approves one more agreement with Azerbaijan
Kazakh banks have strong loss-absorption capacity - analysis
Israeli agriculture technologies successfully introduced in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's monetary base notably grows in annual terms
Foreign exchange reserves of Azerbaijan's CBA increase over month
Turkmenistan resumes train communication between two cities
UN, Azerbaijan sign Framework Document on Cooperation (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani AzStateNet network records increase in number of blocked "intruders"
Indian diaspora holds Tiranga rally in Brampton for stronger ties with Canada
India, New Zealand discuss Indo-Pacific
Antigua and Barbuda thanks PM Modi for demonstrating 'act of benevolence' by distributing COVID-19 vaccines
Iranian currency rates for March 2
Bulgarian companies ready to participate in recovery projects in Azerbaijan’s liberated lands
With India’s aid, restoration work of heritage site in Nepal begins
Betting on death of petrol cars, Volvo to go all electric by 2030
From India to NASA, Scientist Swati Mohan Breaking Barriers in Space Exploration
India, US reaffirm strategic partnership at bilateral meeting of UN envoys
EIB’s energy efficiency investments constituted more 50% of all energy lending
India-Brazil space cooperation reaches new heights with launch of Amazonia-1 satellite
Renewables accounted for 35% of EIB energy investments
Azerbaijani currency rates for March 2
ECO freight train to resume operation after 9 years
Turkey publishes figures on cargo shipment via local ports from Georgia
Europe’s oil & gas industry marks 28% increase in cross-border deals
Oil extends losses on worry over possible supply increase from OPEC
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for March 2
Gas production dep’t managed by Uzbekneftegaz announces tender for construction of rotational camp
Iran interested in rapid revival of liberated territories of Azerbaijan – Iranian Ambassador (INTERVIEW)
Georgia to secure AstraZeneca vaccine in coming weeks
Iran-made COV-Pars vaccine one of world best vaccines: Official
Kazakhstan reports 658 new COVID-19 cases over past day
Chinese mainland reports 11 new imported COVID-19 cases
Uruguay begins vaccination drive against COVID-19
Uzbekistan reveals priorities for agriculture dev’t for 2021
5.1-magnitude quake hits 11 km S of Urrao, Colombia
Iraq reports 3,599 new COVID-19 cases, 699,088 in total
UN chief asks for generous donations for Yemen humanitarian operations
5 killed in helicopter crash in east China
New service of money transfers between Russia, Azerbaijan launched
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 347,000 in past day
EU to propose vaccine certificates in time for summer holidays
Turkey eases coronavirus restrictions as cafes, eateries reopen
European Council President pledges Georgia to have access to Covid-19 vaccine
First vaccine against coronavirus registered in Uzbekistan
Iran, Syria enjoy $1.5 billion trade capacity: Official
More cargo from Georgia to Lithuania expected in future by Klaipeda Seaport
Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Ambassador of Belarus discuss prospects for development of military co-op
Azerbaijani FM, Uzbek ambassador exchange views on current situation in region (PHOTO)
Numerous people take part in online survey on return to Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region
Azerbaijani State Insurance Commerce Company talks about closure of some branches
Azerbaijan to develop new services for microfinance sector
Overdue debt increases in Georgia
Georgia sees increase in volume of deposits in lari
Georgian commercial banks see decline in lending
Azerbaijan to use Turkey's experience in restoring monuments in liberated lands (PHOTO)
Georgian farmers can now get diesel benefits online
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 2
Azerbaijani SOFAZ unveils volume of foreign currency sold at auctions during February
Presidential website releases full version of press-conference of Azerbaijani president (VIDEO)
Uzbekistan, Organization of Islamic Cooperation talk prospects of cooperation
Georgia to secure first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Statement in support of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity adopted at conference in Iran (PHOTO)
Contract signed in Iran on fish farming
Former French president Sarkozy convicted of corruption, handed jail sentence
Iran and Georgia fix problem with transit of trucks, through Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani SME Development Agency receives numerous applications for creation of businesses in liberated lands
Beekeeping to rapidly develop in liberated Azerbaijani lands - Association
Uzbekistan’s state budget expenditures mainly account for social sphere
State Insurance Organization opens tender for installation of drip irrigation system
Buta Airways Launches Flights to Tbilisi
All news