A bomb at a rally being held by supporters of a hardline cleric and political leader in Pakistan has killed at least 35 and injured more than 100 people.
Senior police officer Nazir Khan said the workers convention of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema Islam party was taking place on the outskirts of Khar, the capital of Bajur district near the country’s border with Afganistan, when the explosion took place.
Initially police said 10 people were killed but later more bodies were moved to a hospital bringing the death toll to 35. Mr Khan said some of the wounded were taken to the city’s main hospital in critical condition and the death toll could increase.
Azam Khan, head of the emergency room at Khar’s main hospital, said 35 bodies were brought to the hospital and some were taken back by relatives while the number of wounded was now more than 100.
Government administrator Mohibullah Khan Yousufzai also said the death toll rose to 35 and the number of wounded was well over 100. He said the serious wounded people were being airlifted to provincial capital, Peshawar, for better medical care.
No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State operates across the border in Afghanistan.
Maulana Ziaullah, the local chief of Mr Rehman’s party, was among the dead. Senator Abdur Rasheed and former politician Maulana Jamaluddin was also on the stage but escaped unhurt. Party officials said Mr Rehman was not in the rally.
Mr Rehman is considered to be a pro-Taliban cleric and his political party is part of the coalition government in Islamabad.
Meetings are being organised across the country to mobilise supporters for upcoming elections.
Bajur has been a safe haven for Islamic militants until recent years when Pakistani military carried out massive operations to eliminate militancy from the tribal region.
Militants still strike, attacking security forces and civilians.