Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

IS claims election rally bombing in Pakistan

IS claims election rally bombing in Pakistan

A Pakistani government official says the death toll from a suicide bombing at an election rally in the country's southwest has risen to 128.

"Initially the death toll was not high but many critically injured persons including Siraj Raisani passed away in hospitals", Balochistan's caretaker health minister Faiz Kakar said. Another senior official, Qaim Lashari, also confirmed it had been a suicide blast.

Though these bombings doesn't come as a surprise as the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had already warned of election-related violence ahead of the polls and suggested enhanced security for the electoral candidates, but the governments, provincial and federal, have ostensibly failed to grasp the gravity of the threats.

Speaking to reporters after the attack, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani said the blast took place near the tire of his jeep when he was passing through Haved Bazaar after addressing an election rally.

Among those killed in Friday's attack was Baluchistan provincial assembly candidate Siraj Raisani, whose brother Nawab Aslam Raisani had served as the provincial chief minister from 2008 to 2013.

Raisani was the younger brother of former provincial chief minister Mir Aslam Raisani.

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Today's attack is the deadliest terror strike in Pakistan since the brazen terror assault on an Army school in Peshawar in December 2014 in which about 150 people, mostly students, were killed.

Local media has reported two separate minor bomb attacks in Balochistan's Khuzdar district and Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province during the month.

Before that, on 7 July, seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.

His father, senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour, was killed in a suicide bombing in late 2012, in the run-up to Pakistan's last election. Durrani is running against cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) is one of the front-runners in the July 25 vote. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

It comes amid news a plane carrying disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz landed at Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore.

Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor in a tweet condemned the gruesome attacks in Mastung and went on to declare that, "Pakistan has lost a highly devoted & capable politician,".

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