Shahid Afridi's daughters' message for Imran Khan from Dubai

SECURITY men stand guard outside a polling station in Liaquatabad on Monday.—PPI

SECURITY men stand guard outside a polling station in Liaquatabad on Monday.—PPI

"Ikramullah Gandapur has been killed and we are conducting a post-mortem", said police official Zahoor Afridi, adding that 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives had been used in the attack.

Later Sunday, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that killed Gandapur.

An election candidate and his driver were killed by a suicide bomb attack in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, police said, three days before the country's general election.

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The attack followed a suicide blast in the southwestern province of Balochistan on July 13 which killed 149 people, underscoring continuing security challenges in Pakistan following years of dramatic improvements.

Ikramullah Gandapur, a member of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (or PTI), was contesting polls for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly. Rights defenders have long accused the ISI of kidnapping and torturing rights activists, journalists and dissenting voices.

There are 105.96 million registered voters in the country.

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Pakistan's general elections, which are scheduled to be held on July 25, will be the historical because this will be the second successive smooth transition of power from a democratically elected government to another elected government through elections.

The military has warned of threats ahead of the polls and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers for security on election day.

Khan, the leader of PTI party calling for a crackdown on corruption and the creation of the welfare state, has also received support from cricketers outside the Pakistani border. "No one can doubt your Honesty and thats what is require in our country.An honest LEADER", tweeted former captain Waqar Younis.

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Celebrities and sports stars have lent their support on social media with #BehindYouSkipper becoming one of Pakistan's top trending topics on Twitter.

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