Quetta, July 13 (Express Tribune): At least 111 people, including Balochistan Awami Party leader Siraj Raisani, were martyred and several others injured in a suicide attack in Balochistan’s Mastung district on Friday in the third such attack on election candidates in the run up to July 25 polls.
Provincial caretaker home minister, Agha Umar Bangulzai confirmed the death toll to The Express Tribune.
Siraj was attacked during a corner meeting organised for the promotion of his candidature for the constituency of PB-35. Siraj’s death was confirmed by his brother Lashkari Raisani.
After the incident, a large contingent of security forces cordoned off the area with the injured shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta, where an emergency was imposed.
Siraj is also the brother of former Balochistan chief minister Mohammad Aslam Khan Raisani.
Strongly condemning the attack, interim Chief Minister Balochistan Alauddin Murree directed deputy commissioner of Mastung to submit a report of the incident.
“The attack is a conspiracy to sabotage the electoral process in the province,” he said in a statement.
Murree ordered the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to ensure those behind the attack are apprehended.
Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk also condemned the attack in separate statements.
As per Election Act, 2017, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has postponed polling for the PB-35 constituency. The Clause 73 (1) of the Elections Act 2017 states that “if a contesting candidate dies before the commencement of the polls or during polling hours, the returning officer shall, by public notice, terminate proceedings relating to that elections.
Earlier in the day, four people were killed and 39 injured in an attack on the convoy of former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and Jamiat-Ulema-Islam (F) leader Akram Khan Durrani in Bannu.
The former minister was leaving a corner meeting when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a motorcycle some 50 metres away from the jalsa ground went off in the jurisdiction of Havaid police station, RPO Karim Khan said.
The attack comes days after Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour was assassinated in a suicide attack the at a corner meeting that killed 19 others and injured over 60 people on June 10.
The attacker detonated his explosive belt close to the ANP leader’s vehicle as he approached a rally organised to promote his election in the Yakatoot area of the provincial capital late Tuesday night. Rescue teams and security officials shifted the deceased and injured to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) soon after the attack.
(The featured image at the top shows Siraj Raisani, leader Balochistan Awami Party who was among the 111 killed in the suicide attack)