Taliban claim responsibility
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the target had been a lawmaker elected as an independent but allied to the outgoing government. Officials said the lawmaker escaped unhurt. Monday's bombing brings to 87 the number of people killed in attacks on politicians and political parties since April 11, according to an AFP tally.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013
It was the first attack on a political party in the tribal belt since campaigning began for what will be Pakistan's first democratic transition of power after a civilian government has completed a full term in office. Interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso strongly condemned the attack and said one of the national assembly candidates had been injured.
Repeated calls for candidates to be granted more security have failed to stop a wave of attacks, most of them claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. "Basically it was an attack on Munir Orakzai, who was a part of the past government for five years," Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The Pakistani Taliban have condemned Saturday's elections as un-Islamic and directly threatened the main parties in the outgoing coalition, the Pakistan People's Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party (ANP). "He supported the People's Party and ANP government, which launched several operations against us," Ehsan told AFP.
Rehman and his JUI party - known as JUI-F - have been mediators between the authorities and the Taliban, blamed for killing thousands of Pakistanis in a domestic insurgency over the past six years. Orakzai is a senior tribal politician who is standing for JUI-F for the first time. The Taliban denied that JUI-F itself was the target. Elections have been postponed in three constituencies where candidates have been killed. Those constituencies are in the south-western province of Balochistan, in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi and in southern Hyderabad.