Zardari condemns terror attacks in Mastung, Bannu

Frederick Owens
July 14, 2018

Baluchistan Home Minister Agha Omer Bangulzai told Reuters that the death toll in the attack had risen to 128 people, with over 150 wounded. Officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that left 128 people dead, police officials said. Another senior official, Qaim Lashari, also confirmed it was a suicide blast.

Militants targeted a gathering of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Siraj Raisani in Mastung area in the troubled Balochistan province.

"Everyone was crying for help", Munir Shahwani, a local journalist said, adding that the injured were immediately shifted to Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Hospital in Mastung and the CMH in Quetta. The sixteen years old son of Siraj Raisani had also lost his life in a bomb blast in Mastung in 2011 when Aslam Raisani was chief minister.

The explosion comes hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated near a Pakistani politician's convoy in the country's northwest near the Afghan border.

Police and witnesses said Durrani was traveling in a convoy when a remote-controlled bomb planted in a parked motorcycle exploded near his vehicle.That attack killed four people and injured almost 40 others but Durrani escaped unhurt.The politician is a central leader of a main religious party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F).

Pakistani Taliban have been targeting the members and the leaders of Durrani's party in the past for the religious group's support and participation in the democratic process, which the militants say is a system brought in by Western infidels.

"The suicide bomber blew himself up when local leaders were speaking at the gathering", said a survivor who had received injuries.

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The banned Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan's "Ghazi force Lal Masjid" wing in a Whatsapp massage has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

Sharif and his daughter Maryam were expected to be taken into custody when they arrived in Lahore on a flight from London via Abu Dhabi late Friday.

"The United States strongly condemns this week's attacks on political candidates and their supporters in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan".

This was the second attack on MMA candidates in Bannu in the last two weeks.

Analysts warn, however, that Pakistan has yet to tackle the root causes of extremism, and terrorists retain the ability to carry out attacks.

In a video message on Friday reportedly from aboard his aircraft en route to Pakistan, Sharif said he was returning knowing he would be taken directly to prison.

"The Pakistani authorities have a duty to protect the rights of all Pakistanis during this election period - their physical security and their ability to express their political views freely, regardless of which party they belong to", said Omar Waraich, deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International.

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