Blast near MMA candidate Akram Durrani's convoy kills three

Disgraced ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be whisked away by helicopter to the federal capital of Islamabad when he returns Friday to Pakistan's easte

Pakistan readies for disgraced ex-PM Sharif's return from UK

Police had earlier said that the attack targeted Raisani's convoy but later changed their statement as video footage of a large tent showing damage from the blast was circulated.

Victims in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and nearby Quetta, where they were greeted by tense crowds of mourners, an AFP reporter said.

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.

He also used the opportunity to again criticize Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country directly or indirectly for most of its 71-year history, saying Pakistan now has a "state above the state".

Provincial caretaker home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai said about 300 people were also wounded on Friday when the bomber targeted a rally for candidate Siraj Raisani, who was running for a seat in the provincial legislature.

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Balochistan Awami Party candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, who was scheduled to contest the election against his brother, died in the blast.

According to senior provincial official Saeed Jamali, the bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where a political meeting was taking place.

"The bomb was planted in a motorcycle", regional police officer Kareem Khan said.

Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among the 22 killed. The attack took place in the town of Mastung, days before the general elections in the country on July 25.

Pakistani Taliban have been targeting the members and the leaders of Durrani's party in the past for the religious group's support and participation in the democratic process, which the militants say is a system brought in by Western infidels. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

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Pakistani and global rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in Pakistani politics by keeping Sharif out of power.

Ahead of his return, police swept through Lahore, arresting scores of his Pakistan Muslim League party workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport. In a tweet, he said there seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the July 25 vote.

Local media has reported two separate minor bomb attacks in Balochistan's Khuzdar district and Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province during the month.

Last month, a U.S. air strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in neighbouring Afghanistan in what the Pakistani army called a "positive development" that also sparked fears of reprisals.

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