At least 56 people killed in two suicide blasts in Pakistan : The Tribune India

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At least 56 people killed in two suicide blasts in Pakistan

The explosion takes place when people were gathering to mark Eid Milad un Nabi

At least 56 people killed in two suicide blasts in Pakistan

A view of a victim on a stretcher being transferred to an ambulance, following a suicide blast, in Balochistan Province, Pakistan, on Friday. Reuters


Karachi/Peshawar, September 29

A powerful suicide blast ripped through a mosque in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province on Friday, killing at least 52 people and injuring over 50 others who were preparing to celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday, police said.

Hours later, another blast at a mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Hangu city killed at least four people and injured 12 others.

At Mastung, the explosion occurred near Madina Mosque on Al Falah Road in the Mastung district when people had gathered in large numbers to mark Eid Miladun Nabi, City Station House Officer Mohammad Javed Lehri said.

“The explosion was a ‘suicide blast'. The bomber exploded himself next to the Deputy Superintendent of Police's (DSP) car,” Lehri said.

Bordering Afghanistan and Iran, Balochistan is Pakistan's largest province and has frequently been hit by terror groups including the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic State group.

Mastung's DSP Nawaz Gishkori, who was on duty for the rally, was found dead among others.

Lehri said the wounded were shifted to a medical facility even as an emergency has been imposed in the hospitals.District Health Officer Rashid Muhammad Saeed said the situation at the hospitals across the town was chaotic as relatives and friends of those killed and injured were making it difficult for the doctors and nurses to perform their duties.

“Around 20 of the patients who were in critical condition have been moved to Quetta for treatment,” he said.

The TTP has denied involvement in Friday's blast, saying in a statement that such an attack was against its policies. The group also condemned the attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stating that "mosques, schools, and public gatherings are not part of our targets".

Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said rescue teams have been dispatched to Mastung.

“The enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan ...,” Achakzai said.

Caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has directed authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast.

Meanwhile, in the unruly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province few hours later, at least four people died and 12 others were injured in the suicide blast that ripped through a mosque during the Juma prayers close to the Doaba police station in Hangu district.

There were 30 to 40 worshippers in the mosque at the time of the blast.

According to police, five terrorists had entered the Daoba police station but were immediately engaged by the law enforcement forces in a firing. While one terrorist was killed in the firing, the other blew himself near the mosque building causing its roof to collapse.

Three terrorists fled the scene, police said. Both Deputy Commissioner Fazle Akbar and IGP Akhtar Hayat Gandapur have confirmed in separate statements the number of casualties and those injured and added that the Hangu mosque rescue operation was complete.

Administrative and political leadership expressed outrage in response to the blasts.

In Balochistan, caretaker Chief Minister Domki has directed authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast. He also announced three days of mourning throughout the province over the tragic incident.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti also strongly condemned the blast.

Stating that “terrorists have no faith or religion”, Bugti asserted that all resources were being put to use during the rescue operation. He added that no effort would be spared in treating the injured and that terrorist elements did not deserve any concession.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former premier Shehbaz Sharif said that carrying out such a despicable act on an occasion marking the birth of the Holy Prophet is detestable now and in the hereafter.

He condemned the attack and offered condolences to the families of the deceased and injured.

Soon after the explosion in Balochistan, the Punjab police also said that its officers were performing security duties for Friday prayers at mosques across the province.

Police in Karachi said that Additional Inspector General Khadim Husain Rind has directed the police to remain “completely on high alert” in view of the Mastung blast.

He directed the policemen to tighten security arrangements regarding Eid-i-Miladun Nabi processions and Friday prayers across the city, as well as to monitor any unusual activities.

This is the second major blast that has terrorised Mastung over the last 15 days, Geo News reported.

Earlier this month, at least 11 people were injured in a blast in the same district.

Mastung has remained a target of terror attacks for the past several years with a major attack in July 2018 being one of the deadliest in the district's history during which at least 128 people were killed.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which was set up as an umbrella group of several terrorist outfits in 2007, called off a ceasefire with the federal government and ordered its terrorists to stage terrorist attacks across the country.

The group, which is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

In January, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with worshippers during afternoon prayers in Pakistan's restive northwestern Peshawar city, killing over 100 people.

Last year, a similar attack inside a Shia mosque in the Kocha Risaldar area in the city killed 63 people.

Pakistan has been gripped by a spate of terror attacks, with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa particularly being under the radar of militants targeting security forces and civilians. 


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