Death toll in IS-claimed Pakistan blast jumps to 128

Saturday, 14 Jul, 2018

At least 70 people, including an election candidate, were killed and over 120 were injured in a blast at a rally in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Friday afternoon, Dawn reported, quoting provincial Health Minister Faiz Kakar. The bombing was the biggest attack in Pakistan in over a year and is the third incident of election-related violence this week.

MASTUNG: More than 100 people including Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, younger brother of former chief minister Balochistan Aslam Raisai and BAP candidate for Balochistan Assembly, have been martyred and about 150 others injured in a suicide blast in Mastung.

"Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta", he added.

Akram Durrani, former chief minister of the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was unhurt in the bombing, which struck his rally in the town of Bannu, local police chief Kurram Rashid said.

Today's attack is the deadliest terror strike in Pakistan since the brazen terror assault on an Army school in Peshawar in December 2014 in which about 150 people, mostly students, were killed.

The blast in the town of Mastung, near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, came hours after another bomb killed at least four people at a campaign rally in Bannu in the country's northwest.

Earlier this week, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar.

The injured were taken to District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital Bannu for treatment, where officials confirmed the death toll had risen to four while 32 injured were undergoing treatment.

Local media confirmed the death toll, quoting Balochistan's Home Minister Agha Umar Bangalzai. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.

Expressing concerns over such attacks during election campaigns, he called for serious investigations in these attacks.

Authorities said the suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where the political meeting was taking place.

The United States has strongly condemned the attacks on Pakistani political candidates and their supporters.

Bilour was part of the predominantly secular, ethnic Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party, which has long competed with religious parties for votes in Pakistan's volatile Pashtun lands, along the border with Afghanistan.

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