The death toll of a massive suicide blast near a mosque in Mastung district of Pakistan's Balochistan province has increased to 60, according to a spokesperson of a civil hospital in Quetta on Saturday. At least seven more people succumbed to their injuries whilst under treatment, Geo News reported.
The blast occurred near a mosque in Mastung as people gathered in the area for an Eid-e-Milad procession. Mastung Assistant Commissioner Attahul Munim said that a suicide bomber blew himself up near the vehicle of Mastung Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Nawaz Gishkori, who was among the deceased.
The spokesperson said that 52 deaths were recorded in the Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Memorial Hospital, six in Quetta's civil hospital, and one more at the BMC Complex. The deceased also included religious leaders and children aged nine to 11. At least 58 others were injured in the blast.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Mastung explosion and the twin suicide blasts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Hangu district yesterday, Pakistan has vowed to strike all terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (ISIS) and the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), Dawn reported.
“These forces of evil will continue to face the full might of the state and security forces… and the armed forces, intelligence and law enforcement agencies shall not rest till the menace of terrorism is rooted out from the country,” said Pakistan Army Chief Syed Asim Munir.
Notably, no militant group has taken responsibility after two days of the Mastung incident, and the TTP actually distanced itself from the bombings. This has prompted Pakistani authorities to allege the involvement of India's Research and Analytic Wing (RAW) in the blasts.
After the tragic incident, Balochistan caretaker CM Ali Mardan Domki announced a three-day mourning across Balochistan while Achakzai said that the Pakistani flag would fly at half-mast on government buildings during the same period, reported Geo News.
Twin blasts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
In less than 24 hours after a massive suicide blast in Balochistan's Mastung district, another suicide explosion at a mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Hangu district claimed five lives and injured 12 people on Friday.
According to provincial interim Information Minister Feroze Jamal, two suicide bombers managed to reach the mosque but their entries were restricted by police officers stationed there. One of the attackers was killed during a shootout with the police at the gate, while the other entered the mosque and blew himself up
Hangu District Police Officer Nisar Ahmed said that the first blast occurred at the entrance of the police station. "A few minutes later, another blast occurred inside a mosque situated on the premises of the police station," he said, adding that the roof of the mosque caved in and around 20-40 people were trapped under the rubble.
Pakistan's deteriorating security situation
Amid an increasing spree of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have become the prime targets of such terror activities since the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) ended its ceasefire with the government last year.
There were 99 attacks across the country in September this year, the highest in any single month since 2014, according to data by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). These attacks have resulted in 112 deaths and 87 injuries, mostly targeting security forces personnel and civilians
In Balochistan, at least 11 people, including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah, were wounded in an explosion in Mastung, 15 days before Friday's suicide blast that claimed the lives of 60 people.
Mastung has emerged as a rather dangerous area for civilians with a notorious history of bomb attacks and shootings. Earlier this month, a paramilitary official was gunned down by unidentified men while a policeman died in an attack at a polio vaccination centre.
These repeated instances of targeted blasts and shootouts have posed an acute risk to the safety and security of Pakistani civilians.