World

Politician among 20 dead in Pakistan blast

By AAP Newswire

A suicide bomber has blown himself up at a rally by an anti-Taliban political party in Pakistan, killing 20 people, including a candidate in upcoming elections.

Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroon Bilour was killed in the attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

His father, senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour, was killed in a suicide bombing in late 2012, in the run-up to Pakistan's last election.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack.

"The death toll from last night's suicide attack has reached 20 while we have 65 injured, some of them in critical condition," Zulfiqar Ali Babakhel, a spokesman for Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital, told Reuters.

The ANP is a predominantly secular, ethnic Pashtun nationalist party, and Islamist militants have attacked the party numerous times over the years.

"The anti-Islamism of the ANP is not hidden from anyone, and this secular party martyred many members of the Muslim community during its previous government," Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said.

Haroon Bilour had hoped to win a provincial assembly seat in July.