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Bomb blast near Pakistan party office kills 10

Pakistani supporters of Awami National Party gather at the site of a bomb explosion in Karachi on April 26, 2013
Pakistani supporters of Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party gather at the site of a bomb explosion in Karachi on April 26, 2013. At least 10 people were killed and 17 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a secular party's election office in Pakistan's

At least 10 people were killed and 17 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a secular party's election office in Pakistan's commercial hub Karachi late Friday, officials said, the latest violence ahead of historic polls next month.

The powerful explosion went off as a candidate for the Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party prepared to address a corner meeting in the city's poor western neighbourhood of Mominabad, local police officer Mohammad Khan said.

Bashir Jan, who is standing for election in the country's national parliament, escaped unhurt according to Qadir Khan, a member of his party.

The blast was heard from several kilometres away and damaged nearby shops and houses, witnesses said, while police added it destroyed some 10 cars and a dozen motorcycles.

"It was huge blast, I thought it was an earthquake," resident Gul Ahmed said.

"We rushed out and saw smoke, there was blood every where at the blast site, we put the casualties in the private cars and ambulances," he said.

A Pakistani man reacts following the killing of supporters of Awami National Party in Karachi, April 26, 2013
A Pakistani man reacts following the killing of supporters of the Awami National Party in a bomb explosion in Karachi on April 26, 2013. At least 10 people were killed and 17 wounded in the car bomb.

Police spokesman Imran Shaukat described the bomb as an improvised explosive device planted in a Suzuki car.

Hospital officials said 10 people were killed and 17 wounded.

"We have received seven bodies and 12 wounded people," Dr Nisar Ahmed of the main Civil Hospital said.

Separately two dead bodies were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Dr Mashhood Ahmed said. Another five wounded have been admitted in his hospital.

One body was brought to Jinnah Hospital, Dr Khalil Ahmed there said.

Khan, the ANP activist, quoted Jan as saying that he would continue his election campaign undeterred.

Friday's blast was the second to hit the port city in less than 24 hours. Five people were killed on Thursday when a bomb exploded outside the office of secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, police said.

Supporters of Pakistani secular party Muttahida Qaumi Movement carry the coffins of party supporters, April 26, 2013
Supporters of Pakistani secular party Muttahida Qaumi Movement carry the coffins of party supporters who were killed in an overnight bombing in Karachi on April 26, 2013.

The ANP and MQM were coalition partners in the outgoing Pakistan People's Party-led government and have been been threatened by the Taliban for backing military operations against the Islamists.

The three parties are perceived as secular.

Deadly attacks targeting politicians or political parties have killed 44 people since April 11, according to an AFP tally.

May 11 national polls should see power pass from a civilian government that has served a full term to another through the ballot box for the first time in the nuclear-armed country's turbulent history.

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