At least 52 killed, scores injured in suicide blast near 12th Rabiul Awwal procession in Mastung: official

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At least 52 killed, scores injured in suicide blast near 12th Rabiul Awwal procession in Mastung: official
Mastung, Balochistan: At least 52 people, including a police officer, were killed while around 50 were injured in what officials believe was a suicide blast near a Rabiul Awwal procession in Balochistan’s Mastung district on Friday.

District Health Officer (DHO) Abdul Rasheed Shahi confirmed the casualties to while City Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri said a police official was among the dead.

Dr Saeed Mirwani, chief executive of Shaheed Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Memorial Hospital, said dozens were being treated at the facility while more than 20 injured people have been referred to Quetta for medical assistance.

“The process of moving bodies and injured persons is under way,” the hospital CEO said, adding that 22 were shifted to the Mastung district hospital.

Unverified images and videos emerging afterward depicted bloodied corpses and severed limbs strewn about as bystanders assessed the extent of the damage.

Mastung Assistant Commissioner (AC) Atta-ul-Munim told that the explosion took place when people were gathering for an Eid-i-Miladun Nabi procession near Madina Masjid at Alfalah Road.

“The bomber detonated himself near the vehicle of the deputy superintendent of police (DSP),” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Munir Ahmed told Reuters, adding that the blast took place near the mosque where people were gathering for a procession to mark Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday, which is a public holiday.

The Mastung AC had identified the martyred DSP as Nawaz Gishkori. SHO Lehri also confirmed that the explosion was a “suicide blast”.

“A procession of hundreds of people came out of the Madina mosque and as it reached Al Falah road a suicide bomber targeted it,” said Mastung Deputy Commissioner Abdul Razzaq Sasoli.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan denied it had carried out the attack.Balochistan Inspector General (IG) Abdul Khalique Sheikh said that DSP Gishkori sacrificed his life while attempting to stop a suicide bomber.

“The aim of terrorism is to create chaos and instability in Balochistan,” he said. “Police have been ordered to take strong action against the elements involved in the bombing and those providing them shelter.”

IG Sheikh said official details regarding the casualties caused by the explosion will be released soon.

“Police teams from other emergency departments are present at the site of the explosion,” he said, adding that three more personnel including a DSP were also injured in the attack.

Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said rescue teams had been dispatched to Mastung. He added the critically injured persons were being transferred to Quetta and that an emergency had been imposed in all the hospitals.

“The enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan with foreign blessings,” Achakzai said. “The explosion is unbearable”, he said, appealing urgently for blood donors to help treat the wounded.

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Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar strongly denounced the explosion in Mastung, stating that the government was determined to root out terrorism from the country, Radio Pakistan reported.

In their separate statements, the premier and President Dr Arif Alvi expressed deep grief and sorrow over the death of people and directed the authorities concerned to provide the best possible medical treatment to the injured.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti strongly condemned the blast as well and expressed his grief at the loss of lives.

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.

Caretaker Information Minister said such cowardly terrorist acts cannot shake the nation’s resolve, state-run Radio Pakistan said.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to root out the menace of terrorism with the cooperation of security forces and the people.

Interim Balochistan Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki condemned the incident and ordered an inquiry into the blast, directing authorities to submit a report in this regard at the earliest.

“The perpetrators of the destruction do not deserve any leniency,” he said. “Those who target peaceful processions will be dealt with firmly.”

CM Domki urged the people to unite against terrorism, adding that Islam was a religion of peace and “those who commit such heinous acts cannot be called Muslims”.

Expressing solidarity with the families of the martyrs, CM Domki said the best facilities should be provided to all the injured persons.The caretaker CM also announced three days of mourning throughout the province over the tragic incident.

The information minister stated that the purpose of mourning was to express solidarity with the families of the martyrs. “National flags will remain at half-mast on government buildings during the three days of mourning.”

Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was “deeply saddened by the cowardly attack on innocent people” and that such heinous acts had “no place in our country”. “May justice be swift for those responsible,” he added.

It further demanded that the “federal and provincial governments give up political revenge and oppression and fascism against innocent citizens”, and instead “focus on dealing with a real threat like terrorism”.

4 Pakistan Army soldiers martyred in Zhob operation
Separately, the military’s media affairs wing said in a statement today that four Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred during an operation in Zhob — which is located at 5 hour distance from Mastung.

“On September 28, at 1745 hours, own security forces thwarted an attempt of TTP terrorists to infiltrate from Afghanistan into Pakistan near Sambaza in district Zhob close to the Pak-Afghan border,” the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

In the ensuing operation, Havildar Sattar, Lance Naik Sher Azam, Lance Naik Adnan and Sepoy Nadeem fought valiantly and embraced martyrdom, it said.“During fire exchange, three terrorists were also sent to hell and few got injured,” the ISPR stated.It added that the security forces of Pakistan would continue to thwart efforts of the enemies of peace and prosperity in the country.


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