QUETTA: At least 28 people were killed and over 40 others injured Wednesday in two separate explosions targeting election candidates in Balochistan, just a day before general elections in Pakistan.
The first attack claimed at least 15 people’s lives while over 30 were injured after an explosion took place outside an independent candidate’s office in Balochistan’s Pishin while the second blast took place outside the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) office in the Killa Saifullah district.
The Pishin blast took place outside the political office of independent candidate Asfand Yar Khan Kakar in Khanozai area.
Kakar is contesting elections from NA-265 constituency and Balochistan Assembly constituencies — PB-47 and PB-48 in the February 8 elections.
The injured people have been shifted to the Tehsil Hospital Khanozai, while the bodies have also been transferred,the hospital’s MS Dr Habib told Geo News.
Dr Habib said most of the injured are in critical condition.
Following the blast, an emergency has been imposed across hospitals in Quetta for which additional staff has also been called, the provincial health secretary told Geo News.
He added that operation theatres with the staff are ready to treat injured at the Trauma Centre, Civil Hospital, BMC, Benazir and Sheikh Zayed Hospital.
The independent candidate was not present inside his office when the explosion took place in PP-47 in Pishin.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of the blast and summoned a report from Balochistan chief secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP).
A spokesperson for the ECP said directives have been issued to take action against those involved in such incidents.
Speaking with Geo News, Kakar said that the blast happened in a motorcycle outside his election office.
“Eight of our workers were martyred and more than 18 were injured in the explosion when the names of the polling agents were being finalised in the election office,” he said.
Kakar himself was in Barshore when the blast happened and is currently reaching Khanozai.
The second blast targeted the JUI-F office in the Killa Saifullah district.
At least 13 people were killed and 17 others injured in the second explosion, Balochistan Information Minister Achakzai said.
He said JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Wassay, who is contesting elections from PB-3, remained unhurt in the attack.
Achakzai said terrorists would not succeed in their objectives and added that the war would continue until the elimination of the last terrorist.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said the explosive material was planted in a motorcycle, according to preliminary information.
“Further investigation is underway,” he added.
The minister assured that peaceful elections will be held in Balochistan tomorrow.
“Tomorrow, the people of Balochistan will come out, they will destroy the ambitions of terrorists,” Achakzai said.
Speaking about the injured, the minister said they will be sent to other cities if they are unable to receive treatment in Quetta.
Achakzai said that the government will continue its responsibility despite the tragic incident.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, in a telephone call with Balochistan governor and chief minister, has expressed regret over the Pishin blast.
Caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ejaz has condemned the attack outside the election office in Pishin, expressing deep sorrow and regret over the loss of precious lives.
“Evil elements want to defame Pakistan by creating insecurity during elections,” the minister said, adding that those who play with the lives of innocent citizens will be dealt with iron hands.
Ijaz added that the government will take all possible steps to establish peace during the elections.