Political parties in Pakistan's July general elections have vowed to stay on the campaign trail despite the recent murder of a candidate.
A suicide bombing at an electoral rally in northwestern Peshawar on Tuesday killed at least 20 people, including Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroon Ahmed Bilour, who was running for a seat in the provincial legislature. At least 69 people were also wounded in the explosion, Al Jazeera reports.
"According to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour... was the target," police official Shafqat Malik told AFP.
The Pakistani Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack, the first to shake this year's pivotal parliamentary elections slated for July 25.
However, the ANP promised Wednesday that it will continue its fight for rights and justice despite the assassination. A two-day memorial will take place Thursday for these and past victims in Bacha Khan Markhaz.
Senior party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who lost his only son in an armed attack in 2010, told Reuters: "We want peace on our soil and will stand with our people. One thing is clear: we will stand in the field against the terrorists."
Other politicians, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, have condemned the suicide attack, calling on the state to do more to protect candidates.
According to a report delivered to the Senate on July 11, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman has been followed by two vehicles for the last two days. If the alleged stalking continues, she said, she will deliver the license plate details to authorities.
"Should questions not be raised over the atmosphere in which the elections are being held? We do not want to carry any more bodies," Sherry said.
According to former Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the threat to politicians is a result of the failure of police to provide ample security.