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Pakistan Election Office Blast Kills 14

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[February 16, 2008]  ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- A suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into an election office in northwestern Pakistan Saturday, killing 14 people two days ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote, an official in the volatile tribal region said.

More than 40 people were injured. Most of the victims appeared to members of the opposition Pakistan People's Party, formerly headed by the slain Benazir Bhutto, said Mushtaq Hussain, an administrative official in the area.

He said a suicide bomber apparently "rammed his explosive-laden car into the election office," killing at least 14 and injuring more than 40.

"Several of our party members are lying in a pool of blood," said Zafar Ali, a party supporter at the scene. "We are taking the injured and dumping them into pickup vans to bring them to the hospital."

The attack in Parachinar, an area bordering Afghanistan, came two days before parliamentary elections considered crucial to restoring democracy in Pakistan after eight years of military rule under President Pervez Musharraf.

Monday's elections will take place against a backdrop of rising Islamic militancy throughout Pakistan, and many candidates have been discouraged from holding large rallies. Security fears are highest in lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border.

[Associated Press; By MUNIR AHMAD]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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