PESHAWAR, May 11: A boy was killed and 21 people injured in three bomb blasts, which took place at different places near polling stations on the suburbs of the provincial capital on Saturday.
The blasts halted the polling for a short time.
The first incident occurred in Shaikh Mohammadi area of Badbher, where a boy was killed when a powerful bomb exploded outside a polling station in the morning.
Initially, police said a suicide bomber blew himself up ahead of his target.
However, bomb disposal unit official Abdul Haq Khan later told Dawn that a planted improvised explosive device went off as a scavenger touched it.
“The bomb was planted at a garbage dumping site and the boy was scavenging who became a victim of it,” the official said.
The second incident took place in Larama village in limits of Khazana police station, where a bomb exploded outside a polling station.
The polling station was set up in a local government high school for boys. According to officials of bomb disposal unit, the bomb weighing around four kilogrammes was planted in a motorcycle and was detonated by remote control.
Khazana police station SHO Mukhtiar Khan told Dawn at the blast site that 12 people, including youths, were injured and they all were taken to Lady Reading Hospital.
A hospital source said eight injured people, including one in critical condition, were admitted to the hospital, while the rest were discharged after treatment.
The blast also led to a clash among workers of political parties.
Some of the injured were identified as Mohammad Khan, Sher Akbar, Khalid Khan, Noor Shah, Naveed, Daulat Khan, Ahmadullah and a policeman Aman Gul.
They are supporters of different candidates.
“All candidates had decided that no one will set up election camp near polling stations but Malik Tahmash of Pakistan People’s Party didn’t keep his word and as the people gathered there, a huge blast took place,” said Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan candidate Mohammad Zaman Awan at the blast site. He said security arrangements were unsatisfactory.
Similarly, PTI local leader Waseem Zaman also said due to poor security arrangements, the people parked vehicles close to the polling station.
He said police did not take it seriously to remove all vehicles parked beside the polling stations despite clear order of the government that all vehicles would be parked at least 400 yards away from polling stations.
In another incident, nine people, including five policemen and four civilians, were injured when a roadside improvised explosive device went off at Millikhel area of Badbher.
When contacted, SHO Badbher said a police party led by suburban DSP was passing through the area when suspected militants targeted it.
He said the injured had been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex. Sources in the hospitals said the condition of the injured was stable.
Besides, scuffles between Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Awami National Party workers were also reported at the polling stations of Naudhia Bala, Kohati, Wazir Bagh, Beri Bagh, Warsak Road and Mathra.
The scuffles led to brief halt of polling. Law-enforcement personnel stepped in to ease tensions and thus, restarting the process.