Political violence continues in Pakistan ahead of polls

Islamabad: Violence by militants against politicians and campaign meetings in Pakistan continued unabated on Thursday, with 14 persons injured in a string of attacks, including one carried out by a suicide bomber in southern Sindh province.

National People's Party leader Ibrahim Jatoi, a candidate in the May 11 general election, had a narrow escape when a suicide bomber blew himself up near his motorcade at Shikarpur in Sindh this morning.

The bomber targeted the convoy at a toll plaza.

Jatoi told the media that he was not injured by the blast. Two of Jatoi's supporters were wounded and two vehicles were destroyed.

Jatoi, who belongs to the minority Shia community, is contesting polls to a parliamentary seat in Shikarpur area.

Police officials confirmed the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. They said they had found the head and body parts of the attacker.

Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation after the attack.

At Dera Murad Jamali in Balochistan province, a car bomb went off near the motorcade of independent candidate Allahdino Umrani though there were no casualties.

Later in the day, suspected militants fired 10 rockets at a campaign meeting organised by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam at Harnai in Balochistan.

The rockets landed in an open area and four men were injured in a subsequent stampede, police said. Law enforcement personnel cordoned off the area.

Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani, the head of JUI's Balochistan chapter, and other senior leaders were to address the meeting.

Five activists of the PML-N were injured tonight when suspected militants lobbed a grenade at a campaign office in Killi Deba area of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

The attackers, who were riding a motorcycle, escaped after the attack.

In yet another incident, three persons were injured when militants fired at a convoy of Awami National Party workers in Mardan area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province tonight.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, the latest in a series of assaults targeting politicians and campaign meetings ahead of Pakistan's landmark May 11 general election, which will mark the first democratic transition of power in the country's history.