Death toll in ISIS-claimed Pakistan blast jumps to 128

Shahbaz Sharif brother of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who now heads the Pakistan Muslim League addresses a news conference in Lahore Pakistan Thursday

The death toll in a suicide bombing in southwestern Pakistan Friday jumped to 128, an official said, the deadliest in a string of attacks on political rallies that have raised security fears ahead of nationwide polls.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that left 128 people dead, police officials said.

Mr Raisani was the brother of the former Baluchistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani.

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.

Uniformed men escorted the Sharifs, who were sentenced in absentia on corruption charges last week, from their airplane after it touched down in the central city of Lahore at around 8:45 p.m. (1645 GMT), a Reuters reporter on board said.

Sharif and Maryam were earlier this month sentenced to 10 years and seven years in prison, respectively, over the purchase of upscale London flats.

All roads leading to the airport and entry points into Lahore from adjoining areas were barricaded to prevent a large turnout of PML (N) supporters at the airport.

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The attacks came as authorities braced for the return and expected arrest of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on a corruption conviction.

The injured were taken to District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital Bannu for treatment, where officials confirmed the death toll had risen to four while 32 injured were undergoing treatment.

Strongly condemning the terrorist attack on Durrani, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the loss of precious lives.

During his term in office, Sharif criticised the military's involvement in civilian affairs and its efforts in fighting extremists.

The Balochistan Awami Party was created in March after the removal of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) coalition government in Balochistan, Dawn reported. The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission. The army will deploy 350,000 security personnel to polling stations on election day. This was the first major incident of violence ahead of the elections in Pakistan.

The explosion targeted candidate Akram Khan Durrani, who escaped unhurt, police said.

Another 45 people were hurt in the attack in Mastung, a town in southwest Baluchistan province. Police say the attack took place 50 metres away from Durrani's election rally.

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