MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

Pakistan: At least 25 killed, 42 injured in bomb blasts targeting election offices

Abdullah Zehri, a senior police officer in Balochistan Panjgur, said that the bomb outside Kakar’s election office was detonated remotely and was placed in a bag outside the building

PTI Karachi Published 08.02.24, 05:55 AM
Security officials examine the site of bomb blast in Qillah Saifullah, a town of Pakistan's Baluchistan province.

Security officials examine the site of bomb blast in Qillah Saifullah, a town of Pakistan's Baluchistan province. AP/PTI

At least 25 people were killed and 42 injured on Wednesday in two devastating bomb blasts targeting election offices in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, a day before the general elections in the coup-prone country.

In the first incident, a powerful blast outside the office of Independent candidate Asfandyar Khan Kakar in Pishin district killed 17 people and wounded 30 others.

ADVERTISEMENT

Less than an hour later, another bomb blast took place outside the election office of the Jamiat-Ulema Islam-Pakistan in the Killa Abdullah area, claiming the lives of eight people and injuring 12 others.

Abdullah Zehri, a senior police officer in Balochistan Panjgur, said that the bomb outside Kakar’s election office was detonated remotely and was placed in a bag outside the building.

“The condition of some of the injured is critical and they have been rushed to Quetta for treatment,” he said.

He said so far the body count from the blast was 17 but the casualties could rise. “Terrorists are targeting the election candidates to deter people from going to the polling stations but security personnel are being increased further to ensure the elections go ahead on schedule,” Zehri said.

According to local media reports, a powerful blast had ripped through the election office of a JUI candidate in the Killa Abdullah area and caused great damage in which eight people had been killed.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) confirmed the two blasts and said security had been further enhanced in the province for Thursday’s elections.

“The perpetrators of these terror attacks will be caught and dealt with,” a spokesperson for the ECP said.

In a statement, Balochistan’s home minister Jan Achakzai condemned the attacks and announced that elections would be held as scheduled.

“In light of the tragic Pishin blast, which claimed the lives of 12 individuals and left 24 others injured, and the Qilla Saifullah blast, which killed 10 people, it is important to emphasise that the scheduled elections will proceed as planned,” he said in a statement on X.

“Allow me to reiterate our unwavering commitment to relentlessly pursue terrorists until every last one of them is eliminated…. Rest assured, we will not allow terrorists to undermine or sabotage this crucial democratic process,” he further said. Caretaker interior minister Gohar Ejaz condemned the blast outside the election office of the independent candidate in Pishin.

According to a post on X, the minister offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.

The attacks came ahead of elections on Thursday for which elaborate security measures have been taken by the authorities.

Violence has been at its peak in Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, in the lead-up to the February 8 general elections in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, 10 grenade attacks were carried out at security posts, election campaign offices and rallies in different areas of the province.

Since Sunday, there have been around 50 such attacks carried out in the province. In one incident in Sibi town, attackers targeted the election rally of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate for the National Assembly in which four people lost their lives and six were injured.

Frontier Corps and Levies personnel had reached the spot of the blast in Panjgur but the local police officer in the area said the casualties could increase as it was a very powerful blast.

Outlawed separatist groups in Balochistan have been carrying out attacks on security personnel, installations and government employees all over the province as they claim to be fighting a war to restore the rights of the local people and an end to the alleged possession of the province’s rich minerals by the government and security forces.

However, since last year they have stepped up attacks and have targeted the candidates contesting the general elections. Late last month, at least 24 militants, four security personnel and two civilians were killed during a three-day operation in the area.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT