New Delhi, July 14: At least 128 people including senior politician Nawabzada Siraj Raisani were killed and more than 180 injured on Friday as powerful bomb blasts targeted two separate election rallies in Pakistan, the deadliest in a string of attacks on candidates ahead of the upcoming July 25 polls. As per a report, terrorists targeted a gathering of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Siraj Raisani in Mastung area of Balochistan province. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its newswire Aamaq.
Raisani, the brother of former Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisan succumbed to wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta. Siraj Raisani was a candidate of recently-formed Balochistan Awami Party from PB-35 constituency. Following his demise, the Election Commission of Pakistan has postponed polling for the constituency from where Siraj was contesting. In July 2011, Siraj Raisani had lost his 14-year-old son in a terror attack in Mastung.
Speaking to news agency PTI, officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast. They claimed that around 16-20 kilogram of explosives were used in the attack.
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. The attack had claimed lives of five persons.
Earlier on Monday, a suicide bomber killed Awami National Party (ANP) leader and candidate in the general elections, Haroon Bilour and 19 others after striking at a corner election meeting in Peshawar city. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the ANP rally. The attack was owned up by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
On July 7, seven people were injured when a convoy of a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal came under attack in Bannu.
Notably, the law and order had suddenly taken an ugly turn in the neighbouring country ahead of elections despite claims by the government and security forces that terrorism has been wiped out.
India.com (With inputs from agencies)