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Death toll in IS-claimed Pakistan blast jumps to 128

Death toll in IS-claimed Pakistan blast jumps to 128

"The death toll has now risen to 25", Agha Umar Bungalzai, the provincial home minister.

Akram Durrani, former chief minister of the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was unhurt in the bombing, which struck his rally in the town of Bannu, local police chief Kurram Rashid said.

Expressing concerns over such attacks during election campaigns, he called for serious investigations in these attacks. The claim could not be independently verified.

It was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on July 25, and underscored the fragility of Pakistan's dramatic gains in security.

Mr Raisani died at a hospital in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, hours after being critically wounded.

Bungalzai also confirmed the explosion killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

Police had earlier said that more than 1,000 people were in attendance at the rally. A senior provincial government official also confirmed the figure, adding that 150 others were injured.

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Pakistani volunteers rush injured persons to a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, Friday, July 13, 2018.

The former minister was leaving a corner meeting when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a motorcycle some 50 metres away from the jalsa ground went off in the jurisdiction of Havaid police station, RPO Karim Khan said.

Durrani is contesting the election on NA-35 (Bannu) against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) ticket.

On Tuesday, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself at the election rally of a secular Pashtun party, killing one of its candidates and 20 activists in the deadliest attack in Pakistan this year.

In a televised appeal to supporters from London earlier this week, Sharif said he was not afraid of prison and asked people to vote for his party.

The country's media regulator warned local news channels to abstain from airing statements "by political leadership containing defamatory and derogatory content targeting various state institutions specifically judiciary and armed forces", the regulator said in a statement. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day. But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow anything to prevent "historic" elections from taking place.

But security across the country has dramatically improved since government and military operations cleared large swathes of territory near the Afghan border in recent years.