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Pre-election bombs rock Pakistan

24 April 2013, 12:53

Islamabad - Eight people were killed and dozens injured by several bombs in Pakistan, officials said on Wednesday, ahead of parliamentary elections set for 11 May.

The southern city of Karachi was crippled after a bomb targeting an election office of the city's dominant Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party late on Tuesday left two dead and 15 injured.

"Traffic is thin and businesses are shut," local police officer Usman Ali said.

The Pakistani Taliban last month threatened to attack secular political parties, including the MQM, for their opposition to the Islamist insurgency.
The party's chief said more than 24 supporters and a candidate of the MQM have been killed in recent attacks.

"How would it be possible to hold peaceful elections in the presence of unceasing terrorism?" said Altaf Hussain, who lives in London.

Also late on Tuesday, a suicide car bomber struck a checkpoint in the south-western town of Quetta.

"Six people, including a member of security forces, were killed and 36 others wounded," Captain Shumail Ahmad of the Frontier Corps paramilitary force said by phone.

‘Send Musharraf to hell’

The banned Sunni extremist Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the explosion, which happened near a Shi’ite neighbourhood, Dawn newspaper reported.

The group has been blamed for attacks on the area's Shi’ite community this year that claimed nearly 200 lives.

Three smaller bombs in other parts of Quetta injured more than a dozen people late on Tuesday, news reports said.

On the outskirts of Islamabad, experts defused explosives found in a car abandoned near a villa where former president Pervez Musharraf was being held on remand, police said.

"Up to 45 kilograms of explosives had been rigged to remote detonators," Islamabad police chief Bani Amin Khan said.

Musharraf returned last month after four years of self-exile to run in the elections, but faces allegations including involvement in high-profile killings and a standoff with the judiciary when he was in power.

The Taliban have warned of suicide bombings and ambushes to "send Musharraf to hell."



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