At least 133 people, including a top nationalist leader, were killed and over 200 others injured on Friday in a powerful suicide blast and a targeted attack on separate election rallies in Pakistan, the deadliest in a series of assaults on candidates ahead of the July 25 polls.
Witnesses said that Siraj Raisani of the regional Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was preparing to address hundreds of supporters in the Mastung district when the bomber near the stage detonated explosives strapped to his body.
Senior police official Qaim Lashari had earlier said that more than 1000 people were in attendance at the rally in the town of Mastung in the violence-plagued province of Baluchistan.
The attacks underscored the fragility of Pakistan's dramatic gains in security after years of steady improvement and widespread optimism that things had turned a corner.
Among those killed in Friday's attack was Baluchistan provincial assembly candidate Siraj Raisani, whose brother Nawab Aslam Raisani had served as the provincial chief minister from 2008 to 2013.
Raisani was younger brother of former provincial chief minister Mir Aslam Raisani.
Raisani is the second election candidate to be killed in terrorist attack in last 3 days in the run up to the general elections in Pakistan.
At least four people were killed and 35 others injured when a bomb targeted the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidate Akram Durrani near the northwestern town of Bannu. He later visited the injured in a hospital in Bannu and said that his vehicle was damaged in the attack.
Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among those killed.
Bilour was part of the predominantly secular, ethnic Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party, which has long competed with Islamist parties for votes in Pakistan's volatile Pashtun lands, along the border with Afghanistan. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif said that the attack has raised question over the state of security in the country.
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.
The attack was owned up by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
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.
Expressing concerns over such attacks during election campaigns, he called for serious investigations in these attacks.