A car bomb has exploded outside of a secular political party's office in the southern port city of Karachi, killing several people. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The explosion occurred outside of the Awami National Party's (ANP) office on Friday, as a parliamentary candidate was preparing to address a rally of supporters, killing at least nine people and wounding up to 24 others. The candidate, Bashir Jan, escaped unscathed.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to the Associated Press. The blast came just one day after the Taliban bombed a meeting of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) in Karachi, killing five people.
On April 21, the Taliban targeted a meeting of the ANP in the northwestern city of Peshawar with a suicide attack, killing 16 people.
As Pakistan prepares for national elections this May, the Taliban has said that it plans to target secular parties with attacks. Some of the parties have been forced to change their campaign strategies in response. The pre-election violence has raised doubts about whether the vote can be considered legitimate, if some parties are not able to fully participate.
The May 11 elections will mark the first time that a civilian government has served a full term in Pakistan and handed over power through a democratic vote.
slk/lw (AP, AFP, dpa)
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