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Pakistan blast: Powerful explosions outside independent candidate’s election office kill 30

The first attack, which killed 12, took place at the office of an independent election candidate in Pishin district. The second explosion in Qilla Saifullah, a town near the Afghan border, detonated near an office of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), a religious party that has previously been the target.

Ajeet Kumar Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Islamabad Updated on: February 07, 2024 19:36 IST
Pakistan elections
Image Source : AP Pakistan elections

Pishin: Two bomb explosions at an election office of an independent candidate in southwest Pakistan on Wednesday, the day before parliamentary elections are to be held, killing at least 30 people and wounding at least 50 others, officials said. The attack happened in Pishin, a district in Baluchistan province, said Jan Achakzai, the spokesperson for the provincial government. He said the wounded were being transported to a nearby hospital, and police said some of them were listed in critical condition.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day before Pakistan parliamentary elections.

No one claims responsibility for attacks

The first attack, which killed 12, took place at the office of an independent election candidate in Pishin district. The second explosion in Qilla Saifullah, a town near the Afghan border, detonated near an office of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), a religious party that has previously been the target of militant attacks, according to the province's information minister. Several groups, including the Islamist militant Pakistani Taliban and separatist groups from Balochistan, oppose the Pakistani state and have carried out attacks in recent months.

Khanzai Hospital, close to the site of the explosion in Pishin, gave the death toll as 12 and said more than two dozen were injured. Deputy Commissioner of Pishin district, Jumma Dad Khan, said that the blast had injured many people. The attacks came as political parties wrapped up their campaigning in the quiet period mandated by electoral rules the day before the election.

The bombing came despite the deployment of tens of thousands of police and paramilitary forces across Pakistan to ensure peace following a recent surge in militant attacks in the country, especially in Balochistan.

The gas-rich Baluchistan province at the border of Afghanistan and Iran has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for more than two decades. Baluch nationalists initially wanted a share of the provincial resources, but later they initiated an insurgency for independence. Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups also have a strong presence in the province.

Khan appeals voters not to gather outside poll stattion

Jailed former Pakistani premier Khan earlier urged his supporters to wait outside polling booths after casting their votes, as rival political parties held large rallies to mark the end of the election campaign period. Any large-scale gathering of Khan's supporters near booths could raise tensions because of what they call a military-backed crackdown on him and his party that has restricted campaigning. The military denies interfering in politics.

"Encourage the maximum number of people to vote, wait at the polling station ... and then stay peacefully outside the Returning Officer's office until the final results are announced," said Khan via his handle on social media platform X, accompanied by an undated photograph depicting him wearing simple black clothing.

(With inputs from agencies)

Also Read: Pakistan: Ahead of elections, 10 cops killed as terrorists target police station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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