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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
10 Muharram 1446  

Blast near independent candidate’s office in Pishin kills 17 on eve of election

Law enforcement agencies have cordoned off area of PB-17
Pishin: Explosion at election office - Breaking - Aaj News

A blast ripped through an area near the office of an independent candidate in Balochistan’s Pishin on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 30.

The attack occurred near the office of an independent candidate in the district, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Quetta and around 100 kilometres from the border with Afghanistan.

The law enforcement agencies have cordoned off the area of PB-17, police said.

The blast was reported a day before the country goes into elections. More than 128 million people would exercise their right to vote on February 8.

More than half a million security officers began deploying Wednesday, with authorities distributing ballot papers to more than 90,000 polling stations.

The medical superintendent of the Civil Hospital confirmed 17 deaths and over 30 wounded persons.

“The blast took place in the office of the candidate of Nokandi area of Pishin district, killing eight people,” Pishin Deputy Commissioner Jumma Dad Khan said, according to Reuters.

The blast occurred in a densely populated area, according to the Aaj News correspondent. Initial reports said that the blast occurred when the voters’ list was being finalised. They were about to leave the polling stations concerned soon.

“The initial probe suggests that it was an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion, and the IED was placed on a motorcycle,” a police official in Quetta who asked not to be named told AFP.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has taken notice of the blast and summoned a report from the chief secretary and Balochistan inspector general police.

Action would be taken against the perpetrators of the blast, the ECP spokesperson said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind Wednesday’s attack. Deputy Commissioner of Pishin district, Jumma Dad Khan, said that the blast had injured many people.

The attack came as political parties wrapped up their campaigning in the quiet period mandated by electoral rules the day before the election.

Condemnation

Caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ejaz condemned the blast outside the election office of an independent candidate in Pishin.

In a post on X by the interior ministry, the interim minister offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.

“The miscreants want to defame Pakistan by creating unrest during the elections. Those who play with the lives of innocent citizens will be dealt with iron hands,” he said.

Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai has said that the government would not allow terrorists to undermine or sabotage the democratic process.

“Allow me to reiterate our unwavering commitment to relentlessly pursue terrorists until every last one of them is eliminated.”

PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari has condemned the blast, expressing regret over the loss of human lives.

He offered his condolences to the families of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also condemned the “terrorism” incident in Pishin, adding that the conspirators involved should be brought to justice.

“Targeting innocent people is a barbaric act,” he said.

With input from AFP, Reuters

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