MASTUNG: Death toll in the suicide bomb blast that killed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Siraj Raisani during a corner meeting in Mastung has climbed to 128, while 122 others were injured.
This was the second election-related attack on Friday amid tensions over ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s return ahead of July 25 elections.
Siraj Raisani is the younger brother of former chief minister Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani.
According to ARY News correspondent Mustafa Khan Tareen, it was a strong blast that has claimed 128 lives. He said the death toll has been confirmed by Deputy Commissioner Mastung Qaim Lashari.
Lashari said that more than 1000 people were in attendance at the rally.
Raisani, an ultra patriotic person, got critically injured in the attack and he was quickly moved to a nearby hospital in a private car. Later, he succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
Raisani came under attack while attending a corner meeting for provincial assembly seat PB-35.
Law enforcers cordoned off the area with rescue teams kicking off operation in the area to transport the injured to nearby hospital.
Raisani was a candidate of the Balochistan Awami Party, formed earlier this year, from PB-35 constituency.
The bombing was the most deadly attack in Pakistan in at least over three years and is the third incident of election-related violence this week.
In July 2011, Raisani lost his 14-year-old son in a terrorist attack in Mastung, in which several others, including security personnel, were killed.
Earlier in the day, a bomb blast targeted the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate Akram Khan Durrani in a Bannu this morning. He, however, escaped unhurt while four people were killed and 14 others injured in attack.
Police said former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Durrani’s cavalcade was attacked in neighborhood of the city. He remained safe while four people were killed and 14 others suffered serious wounds in the attack.
Durrani was returning after attending a rally in connection with the election campaign when he was attacked.
ECP summons NACTA chief
The Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned Chief of National Coordination Counter-Terrorism Authority on Saturday to brief it on security threats to leaders of political parties.
In a letter written to NACTA, the commission said it should be briefed about the security arrangements for political parties and overall security situation in the country.
PM, president, senate, politicians, others condemn the dismal incident
President Mamnoon Hussain and caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retired) Nasirul Mulk have condemned the blast in Mastung. They expressed deep grief and sorrow over loss of precious lives in the blast.
They directed for providing the best medical facilities to the injured.
Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani has also condemned the blast.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza also condemned attack on the BAP leader and election candidate in PB-35 Siraj Raisani in Mastung.
He expressed deep grief and sorrow over death of Siraj Raisani and others in the attack.
The chief election commissioner sought report of the incident from Balochistan caretaker chief binister, provincial chief secretary and inspector general of police. He directed for ensuring security to all election candidates.
Condemning the incident, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said he was aggrieved on loss of the precious lives.
“Pakistan lost a highly devoted and capable politician Siraj Raisani. Attempts of inimical forces to derail important democratic activity shall not succeed. United we all Pakistanis shall IA (Insha Allah) defeat them,” he said, according to Director General Inter Services Public Relations Asif Ghafoor.
COAS condemns heinous terrorist attk in Mashtung. Grieved on loss of precious lives. Pak lost a highly devoted & capable politician Siraj Raisani. Attempts of inimical forces to derail important democratic activity shall not succeed. United we all Pakistanis shall IA defeat them.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) July 13, 2018
Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan said, “Another condemnable terrorist attack on a political gathering – this time in Mastung. Saddened to learn of Nawabzada Siraj Raisini’s shahadat in this targeted attack as well as the shahadat of 15 other innocent citizens.”
Another condemnable terrorist attack on a political gathering – this time in Mastung. Saddened to learn of Nawabzada Siraj Raisini’s shahadat in this targeted attack as well as the shahadat of 15 other innocent citizens.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 13, 2018
PTI leader Aamir Liaquat Hussain said, “Shocked to hear about the Mastung blast. Terrorists are trying to deter the spirits of candidates campaigning for election or possibly trying to delay elections. My thoughts and prayers for Siraj Raisani and those who lost their lives. Pakistan will not bow down to these attacks.”
Shocked to hear about the #MastungBlast terrorists are trying to deter the spirits of candidates campaigning for election or possibly trying to delay elections. My thoughts and prayers for #SirajRaisani and those who lost their lives. #Pakistan will not bow down to these attacks
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) July 13, 2018
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the incident.
پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری کا مستونگ میں بم دھماکے میں پانچ افراد کی شہادت پر گہرے افسوس کا اظہار
— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) July 13, 2018
#Mastung Tragic. May Allah bless the Shaheeds. Whatever anti Pakistan forces do… Elections will happen on time and Pakistan will go forward insha Allah.
— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) July 13, 2018