90 dead, over 180 injured in two blasts targeting Pak election rallies..

Larry Hoffman
July 15, 2018

The group gave no reason for the bombing that killed Raisani, who was running for the election on the Baluchistan Awami Party ticket.

His return is seen as a public show of acquiescence meant to win sympathy from voters in an election that analysts predict could either spell the downfall of one of Pakistan's most charismatic leaders, or lead to years of civil unrest and political instability.

Sharif's dramatic return from London and subsequent arrest for corruption was overshadowed as the carnage in Mastung, in the country's south-western province of Balochistan, unfolded late Friday.

His son-in-law is now serving his one year prison sentence on the same charge, which stems from the purchase of luxury apartments in Britain, which were found to have been bought with illegally acquired money.

Sharif and his daughter Maryam were taken into custody by officials from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after landing in the northern city of Lahore.

Sharif and his daughter are expected to be transported to the garrison city of Rawalpindi, where both will serve their jail term if they don't seek bail.

Pakistani and worldwide rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in Pakistani politics by keeping Sharif out of power.

The death toll in an ISIS-claimed suicide blast targeting a political rally in southwest Pakistan on Friday jumped to 128, officials told AFP, in the deadliest attack in the country since 2014.

Police swept through Lahore arresting Mr Sharif's supporters, who turned out to greet them at the airport.

A Pakistani mourns over a dead body of his family member who is killed in a bomb attack, at a mortuary in Quetta, Pakistan.

Pakistan's caretaker government launched a crackdown on political gatherings on Friday as Sharif, who was ousted by the Supreme Court previous year and convicted in absentia of corruption a week ago, flew back to rally his party ahead of the general elections.

"Initially the death toll was not high but many critically injured persons including Siraj Raisani passed away in hospitals", Balochistan's caretaker health minister Faiz Kakar said.

It came hours after another bomb killed at least four people at a campaign rally in Bannu in the country's northwest.

There are fears of more violence in the run-up to polling day.

The military also said it is only involved in elections at the request of Pakistan's Election Commission.

The explosion targeted candidate Akram Khan Durrani, who escaped unhurt, police said.

The attack took place in Mastung, a town in the south-western Baluchistan province.

Supporters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic organization offer funeral prayers in absentia for the victims of Friday's suicide attack at an election rally in Mastung, outside a mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan July 14, 2018.

Before that, on July 7, seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.

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