Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Militants attack Pak poll campaign, kill 17

Imran Khan hospitalised after rally accident

Militants attack Pak poll campaign, kill 17

Bombs killed 17 people and wounded dozens more including an election candidate in Pakistan yesterday, raising to more than 100 the death toll from attacks on the campaign for Saturday’s polls.
Meanwhile, Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan was rushed to hospital with head injuries yesterday after falling off a lift taking him onto the stage for an election rally.
Television footage showed Khan, leader of the Pakistan Movement for Justice party (PTI), bleeding from the head as he was carried by aides through the crowd at the event in Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore.
The 60-year-old tumbled from a riser along with several of his staff, seemingly after one of them lost their balance.
“Imran Khan has one head injury. We are conducting his CT scan and other tests. He is stable, he is conscious and he is recognising people. He is alright,” Faisal Sultan, the director of Shaukat Khanam hospital, told reporters.
Khan’s main rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tipped to win the election, conveyed his sympathies over Khan’s fall.
The poll will mark a democratic milestone in a country ruled for half its history by the military as the first time a civilian government has served a full term and handed over to another through the ballot box.
Yesterday’s attacks took place in the northwestern town of Hangu, a flashpoint for sectarian violence, and in the northwestern district of Dir, where Pakistani troops crushed a Taliban-led insurgency in 2009.
The Pakistani Taliban has condemned the polls as un-Islamic and directly threatened the main parties in the outgoing ruling coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and other secular allies.
Twelve people were killed and more than 40 injured at Hangu when a suicide bomber targeted election candidate Syed Janan, said Musarrat Qadeem, information minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Later on Tuesday a roadside bombing killed five people, including the brother of a provincial assembly candidate for the PPP in Dir, police said. Seven other people were wounded.