Dozens killed and injured in blasts at Pakistan election offices in Balochistan

Province hit by two explosions from bombs planted in motorbikes

Security personnel inspect the site of a bomb blast outside the office of an independent candidate in Pishin district, on the eve of Pakistan's national elections. AFP
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Two bombings at the election offices in south-west Pakistan killed at least 27 people and wounded more than two dozen others, officials said on Wednesday, with the country set to go to the polls on Thursday.

The first attack happened in Pishin, a district in Balochistan province, killing at least 17 people, an official from the Levies law enforcement agency told The National.

Mukhtyar Ahmed said more than 30 were wounded in the blast just outside the election office of an independent candidate.

The candidate, Asfandyar Kakar, was not present at the time of the explosion, he said.

“The bomb had been planted in a motorbike parked in the premises,” Mr Ahmed said.

Later on Wednesday, a second bombing happened at the election office of politician Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema Islam party in the town of Qilla Saifullah, Balochistan. It killed at least 10 people.

The second blast was also caused by a motorbike planted with explosives, Muhammad Shah Zarsheen, head of the Qilla Saifullah police station, told The National.

“The JUI-F election office had already received a threat of bombing and we had already alerted security there,” Mr Zarsheen said.

“Also, we had warned the JUI-F activists not to allow parking of motorbikes in their election office, but they ignored it, resulting in the tragic incident.”

Mir Zubair Khan Jamali, Balochistan’s caretaker Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, said the election process would not be disrupted by the attacks.

Pakistan, particularly the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, has experienced a significant surge in violence leading up to the election.

In Balochistan, a series of explosions have occurred in recent days, with both the Baloch Liberation Army and ISIS claiming responsibility.

The Tahrik-e-Taliban, the group's Pakistani arm, has warned it will continue targeting security forces but said it would refrain from attacking political activists during the election campaign.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 11:29 AM