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31 perish as twin bomb blasts rock Balochistan on election eve

18 dead as bomb fitted to bike explodes inside election office of independent candidate in Pishin: Another 13 killed as bomb detonated in election office of JUI’s Maulana Abdul Wasay in Killa Saifullah: Two injured as PTI-P candidate’s convoy bombed in South Waziristan

By News Desk

February 7, 2024 12:49 PM


24 perish as twin bomb blasts rock Balochistan on election eve

People gather at the bomb blast site in Pishin.

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At least 31 people were killed and scores wounded as back-to-back bomb blasts wreaked havoc at election offices in two Balochistan cities on Wednesday, a day ahead of voting for general elections in the country, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The much-feared terror wave raised question-marks about the security arrangements for Thursday’s polling.

The first blast took place in Pishin where a bomb fitted in a motorbike went off with a big bang inside a polling station belonging to former Balochistan minister and independent candidate Asfandyar Khan Kakar, located at PB-47 in Khanozai Tehsil of Pishin District. The independent candidate was not present inside his office when the explosion took place but his workers and supporters were present.

At least 14 people were killed and another 30 were injured in the Pishin, around 50 kilometres from Quetta and around 100 kilometres from the border with Afghanistan.

However, later four more succumbed to their injuries in Quetta as death toll reached 18.

Security forces personnel swiftly responded to the terrorist explosion, initiating rescue operations and securing the area.

The injured were rushed to a local hospital and those who were in serious condition were shifted to Quetta hospitals,

Pishin Deputy Commissioner Jumma Dad Khan informed media: “The blast took place in the office of the candidate of Nokandi area of Pishin district and it was not a suicide blast.”

"Fourteen people were killed while 30 others were injured," a police official in Quetta who asked not to be named told AFP. "The initial probe suggests that it was an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion, and the IED was placed on a motorcycle."

The second blast targeted the election office of JUI-F candidate for PB-3 Maulana Abdul Wasay in Killa Saifullah in which 13 people were killed and around 30 injured.

Doctors at a local hospital confirmed that 30 wounded were brought there for treatment.

"The incident took place in the main bazaar of the city area, where the election office of the JUI-F was targeted," a senior police official told AFP.

ECP takes notice

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took notice of the bomb attacks and sought a report from Balochistan chief secretary and inspector general of police.

The commission also directed for immediate action against the culprits.

The attack comes a day before Pakistan is all set to hold general elections 2024 on Feb 8.

Balochistan’s caretaker Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Zubair Khan Jamali has taken notice of the blast in Pishin. In a statement, he expressed regret over the lives lost in the incident and sought a report from the deputy commissioner.

He said that the country’s enemies were looking to create instability. “The election process will not be affected by such an attack,” he said.

Two injured in Waziristan blast

Two workers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-Parliamentarians (PTI-P) were injured after a hand grenade was thrown at a convoy of the party’s candidate for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly seat PK-110 in South Waziristan District on Wednesday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Naseerullah Wazir, the PTI-P candidate, however, remained safe in the attack.

Poll security arrangements 

More than half a million security officers began deploying Wednesday, with authorities distributing ballot papers to more than 90,000 polling stations.

The election has been marred by violence and allegations of pre-poll rigging following a crackdown on the party of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan, winner of the 2018 polls, but booted out of power by a national assembly vote of no-confidence four years later.

There have also been multiple security incidents in the run-in to Thursday's vote, with at least two candidates shot dead and dozens more targeted in attacks across the country.

Campaigning officially ended on Tuesday night and voting is due to begin at 8:00 am local time (0300 GMT) Thursday, closing at 5:00 pm.

 

Reporters Duran Baloch, Isa Tareen and Usman Khan

 


News Desk


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