Eight dead in Pakistan bombing, including son of Afghan cleric

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:35am EDT

Rescue workers carry a dead body away from the site of a blast at University Road in Peshawar April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

Rescue workers carry a dead body away from the site of a blast at University Road in Peshawar April 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb killed eight people in Pakistan on Monday, including the son of an influential Afghan cleric, and wounded about 45 in the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said.

Bombings and attacks have increased across the country in the run-up to a May 11 general election. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for most of the violence and some political parties have decided not to hold open-air rallies because of the danger.

The attack on Monday appeared to be aimed at the convoy of a city official, said police officer Mohammad Ashfaq. He said most of the people killed and wounded were waiting for a bus.

Among the dead was Qari Hilal, the son of prominent Afghan cleric Qazi Amin Waqad, said an official at Afghanistan's consulate in the Pakistani city.

Qazi Amin Waqad is a member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which is trying to draw the Afghan Taliban into peace talks. Hilal was organizing a conference of Afghan and Pakistani religious scholars to oppose militancy, Afghan consulate officials said.

Peshawar is an ancient trading town at the gateway to the Khyber Pass and Afghanistan and has for years seen numerous militant attacks.

More than a dozen people were killed in blasts across Pakistan over the weekend. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks as part of their campaign against the election, saying democracy was un-Islamic.

"The so-called general elections are going to held under the secular democratic system on 11th May 2013, in a country which came into being under the banner of Islamic doctrine," the Pakistani Taliban said in a statement.

"Man cannot be secular and Muslim."

(Additional reporting By Katharine Houreld; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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