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Tuesday, June 25, 2024  
18 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Blast kills four, wounds six in Balochistan’s Sibi

Blast occurred after PTI procession passed through area, according to initial reports
Sibbi: Blast near GPO Chowk on Jinnah Road - Breaking News - Aaj News

A blast near the GPO Chowk in Balochistan’s Sibi district killed at least four people and wounded six on Tuesday, the Health Department said.

The blast occurred after a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) procession passed through the area, according to initial reports. Around 100 to 150 members of the party on motorcycles and cars participated in the procession, Aaj News correspondent said.

The deceased were identified as Zahid Hussain Lalozai, Abdul Wasay Khosa, Muhammad Rafiq Gola, and Hammad Loni.

All the injured persons were being treated at the Civil Hospital and the CMH.

“The PTI rally was passing by there but it is not clear whether the rally was a target or not,” senior police official Farhan Zahid told AFP.

Waseem Baig, a provincial health department spokesman, said six people were wounded in addition to the four killed.

The blast comes as the country prepares for the general elections, which are scheduled to take place on February 8.

This is the same province where members of banned terrorist organisation made attempts to conduct “fire raids” on Monday. But security forces thwarted such attempts and killed seven terrorists. According to the provincial information minister, a clearance operation was under way.

Footage showed that ambulances carried casualties as security forces closed the Jinnah Road where the blast occurred and cordoned off the area.

An emergency has been declared in all hospitals of Quetta and Sibi.

The nature of the blast could not be ascertained as a bomb disposal squad reached the site to collect evidence from the crime scene.

Elections will proceed as planned: Achakzai

The elections would proceed as planned, caretaker Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai said after the blast.

“The rally in Sibi, which was targeted by terrorists, will not discourage the Govt of Balochistan from conducting the elections,” he said in a post on X.

The minister added that it was evident that such terrorists aimed to disrupt the election process and its results.

“However, the resilient people of Balochistan, by the grace of God, will ensure that at least 50 per cent of the population actively participates in the voting process on February 8th,” Achakzai said.

He offered his condolences to the families affected by the tragic blast.

PTI statement

But the PTI claimed that the blast targeted its cavalcade and added that it was equivalent to scaring the people.

In a long post on X, the former ruling party condemned the bomb blast and expressed its grief over the death of people.

The party described it as a “criminal failure” of the caretaker provincial and federal governments.

“The state machinery is busy in getting the leaders and workers of PTI, including founder chairman Imran Khan and vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, punished in fake and false cases,” it said.

The party alleged that institutions responsible for public order were engaged in the worst political engineering.

“The caretaker prime minister and the provincial government should answer why security was not provided to the PTI rally despite the high alert,” it said.

The party demanded a full investigation of the incident.

Separately, PTI’s Salaar Khan Kakar in a video statement condemned the blast and demanded that attention should be given to “suppressing terrorists instead of PTI workers.”

ECP summons report from Balochistan IG, chief secretary

The Election Commission of Pakistan took notice of the explosion in the “rally of a political party” in the district.

In a statement, the ECP spokesperson said the body has sought a report from the chief secretary and the Balochistan IG.

In the 2018 general elections, the voter turnout in Balochistan was 42.60%, according to Gallup Pakistan.

This is a developing story. Sometimes verification of facts and details may take time or led to error. But we will try to report after having confirmation from our reporting staff.

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