90 killed, over 180 injured in twin election-related blasts in Pakistan
At least 90 people, including a top nationalist leader, were killed and more than 180 others injured on Friday in a powerful suicide blast and a targeted attack on separate election rallies in Pakistan, the deadliest in a series of assaults on candidates ahead of the July 25 polls.
Militants targeted a gathering of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Siraj Raisani in Mastung area in the troubled Balochistan province.
“Raisani succumbed to wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta,” District Police Officer Mohammad Ayub Achakzai said.
Raisani is the brother of former Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani.
The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The outfit announced the claim through its Aamaq news agency without providing further details.
At least 85 people, including Raisani, were killed and more than 150 injured in a deadly blast, Dawn newspaper quoted Balochistan’s caretaker health minister Faiz Kakar as saying.
“Initially the death toll was not high but many critically injured persons including Siraj Raisani passed away in hospitals,” Kakar said.
He said the death toll could rise further as 120 people have been wounded in the explosion.
Officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast. They said that around 16-20 kg of explosives were used in the attack.
Following the incident, an emergency was declared in Quetta hospitals, with additional medical staff summoned.
The attack came hours after a bomb hit a rally of Akram Khan Durrani of Mutahida Majlis Amal (MMA), an alliance of religious party, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami, in Bannu area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Five persons were killed and over 37 other injured, police said.
Mr. Durrani was unhurt in the attack. He later visited the injured in a hospital in Bannu and said that his vehicle was damaged in the attack.
Mr. Durrani, who is contesting in July 25 elections against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan, announced that he will continue campaign despite threats.
No group has claimed responsibility for the two attacks so far.