QUETTA: Mourners gathered Saturday to bury their dead in southwest Pakistan after a blast killed 128 people at a political rally in one of the country’s deadliest attacks.
The Islamic State-claimed suicide attack in the town of Mastung, near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, was the latest in a series of bombings targeting campaign events in the last week.
Hospitals in the area have been placed under “emergency” management after being overwhelmed yesterday, with around 150 also injured in the blast — many of them still in critical condition after suffering head trauma.
“We have imposed emergency in the hospitals and cancelled the vacations of the doctors and paramedics,” Balochistan home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP.
The provincial home secretary Haider Shako added that extra security forces had been deployed in “sensitive areas” and warned politicians to remain “vigilant”.
Among the dead was Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly-formed local Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).
The BAP suspended campaign-related events on Saturday and has called for its supporters to observe three days of mourning.
The explosion in Mastung came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated close to another politician’s convoy in Bannu, near the border with Afghanistan.
The politician — Akram Khan Durrani, a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) party — survived.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack.-AFP