A suspected suicide bombing at a procession marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad has left at least 52 people dead and dozens injured in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. According to officials and media, many of the injured victims are in critical condition.
The blast occurred in the Mastung District and is believed to be a suicide attack, as stated by Mastung Assistant Commissioner Atta Ul Munim. One of the primary targets of the attack was Mohammad Nawaz, a senior police officer who unfortunately lost his life in the blast.
Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, expressed his condolences to the families of those who perished in the attack. A statement from his office offered prayers for forgiveness for the deceased and patience for their grieving families.
Balochistan, the largest province in Pakistan, has experienced multiple clashes in recent months due to a long-standing insurgency. The separatists who fuel the insurgency claim that Islamabad unfairly exploits the province’s resources.
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing so far. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, a collective of Sunni Islamist militant groups, has denied involvement. However, there has been a surge in militant attacks in western Pakistan ahead of the upcoming national elections scheduled for January.
Earlier in September, another bombing in Balochistan claimed the lives of 11 individuals. Additionally, in July, a suicide attack during a political party gathering in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province resulted in the deaths of over 40 people.
Authorities in Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city located approximately 370 miles (600km) from Mastung, have been instructed to heighten security measures and remain on high alert, according to the region’s inspector general. Police have been warned to be vigilant about potential militant targeting of gatherings celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, known as Mawlid an-Nabi. This national holiday is marked by day-long festivities and the distribution of free meals.
Pakistan’s caretaker interior minister, Sarfraz Bugti, denounced the bombing as a heinous act.
In addition to the attack in Balochistan, reports have emerged about a second explosion at a mosque near Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The number of casualties remains uncertain, but authorities fear that some victims may be trapped under the rubble. The capacity of the mosque is estimated to be around 40 to 50 people.
As the investigation into these attacks continues, the Pakistani government is under pressure to take additional security measures to prevent further tragedies. The people of Pakistan mourn the loss of their fellow citizens and hope for peace and stability in their country.