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Published: Sunday, 4/14/2013

Bomb kills anti-Taliban party leader in Pakistan


MINGORA, Pakistan — A bomb blast killed a local leader of an anti-Taliban political party today in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley, the fourth such attack targeting members of secular-learning parties during their campaigns for next month’s parliamentary election.

The bomb planted near Mukarram Shah’s car exploded in the village of Banjot, said Abdullah Khan, police chief of the city of Mingora where the village is located. He said the device appeared to have been set off by remote control.

Shah is from the secular Awami National Party, which supported military operations against militants in the region.

The ANP is among three secular-leaning political parties that the Pakistani Taliban have threatened to attack during campaigns for the May 11 parliamentary elections. The other two parties are the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

In a video message, the Taliban have warned people to stay away from rallies held by the three political parties the Taliban consider enemy for their anti-militant stance.

The three dominated Pakistan’s last government, dissolved in preparation for the elections. The ANP also headed the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where Swat is located.

It was fourth such attack since the Taliban issued the threat against the three parties several weeks ago. Earlier, two ANP’s candidates survived bomb attacks by the militants in the northwest and a Taliban shooter killed an MQM candidate in southern city of Hyberabad.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. “The three parties are on our hit list,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Right-leaning and religious parties not being targeted by the Taliban have been holding their election campaign rallies without fear.

Also today, gunmen attacked a NATO supply convoy near Jamrud in Khyber tribal region, killing a truck driver and wounding another, said a local government administrator Iqbal Khan. The Khyber Pass is one of the two main routes in Pakistan for the NATO supplies headed to neighboring Afghanistan.

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