BANNU - A bomb attack claimed by the Taliban near an Awami National Party (ANP) election rally in Bannu killed two people on Sunday and injured six others, including a candidate.

The roadside bomb exploded in Bannu where Adnan Wazir, a former legislator from the ANP, was heading a convoy of dozens of vehicles to address the rally at Government Higher Secondary School, Shadkhan in Wali Noor area.

“The remote-controlled bomb hit the convoy and damaged several vehicles. Two people later died in hospital,” Nisar Ahmed Tanoli, a senior police official said.

Adnan Wazir, an ANP candidate in the May 11 general elections for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly seat from PK-72, Frontier Region (FR), Jani Khel constituency, was few yards from the venue of the public meeting when the bomb exploded.

He was among the eight people who got injured. The injured were taken to Bannu Hospital for treatment from where those seriously injured were sent to Peshawar. Two of the injured, Maqbool and Malik Mumtaz, died at hospital. The other six injured included two police constables, Shad Ayaz and Wahidullah, and four civilians Malik Khakan, Ayub, Amir Muhammad and Wasil Khan.

Police said it was a remote-controlled bomb that also damaged several vehicles. The umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing and threatened more attacks against the ANP. “We claim responsibility for the attack. We are against ANP and Adnan Wazir was a part of the ANP government for five years,” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told journalist by telephone.

The TTP has previously made death threats against ANP politicians and has killed a number of its leaders and workers in several attacks.

The TTP recently asked the people to refrain from attending rallies of some political parties including the secular ANP which ruled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the last five years, from 2008 until the provincial assembly was dissolved pending the election. “We have directed our associates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to target ANP election rallies and all its leaders,” Ehsan said.

District Bannu is close to the lawless tribal areas and it has seen many terrorist attacks from time to time since the surge in insurgency in the tribal belt.

A central jail in Bannu was attacked by hundreds of Taliban who got over 150 of their associates released from the prison. The government says more than 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed as a result of terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.