Explosions Rock Balochistan: 28 killed, over 40 injured

QUETTA: Two separate explosions rocked Balochistan on Wednesday, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 28 lives and leaving over 40 individuals wounded, just a day before Pakistan’s general elections.

The initial explosion, which claimed the lives of at least 15 people and injured over 30 others, occurred outside the political office of independent candidate Asfand Yar Khan Kakar in the Khanozai area of Pishin district. This attack targeted Kakar, who is contesting elections from NA-265 constituency and Balochistan Assembly constituencies PB-47 and PB-48 in the upcoming February 8 elections. Most of the injured are reported to be in critical condition, as confirmed by Dr. Habib, the Medical Superintendent of Tehsil Hospital Khanozai, where the injured have been admitted.

In response to the tragedy, emergency measures have been implemented across hospitals in Quetta, with additional medical staff mobilized to attend to the injured. Operation theaters have been prepared at various medical facilities, including the Trauma Centre, Civil Hospital, BMC, Benazir, and Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) swiftly responded to the incident, summoning reports from the Balochistan chief secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP) and issuing directives for action against those responsible. Asfand Yar Khan Kakar, who was fortunately not present at his office during the attack, confirmed that the explosion occurred outside his election office while his team was finalizing polling agent details.

In a separate incident, a second explosion targeted the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) office in Killa Saifullah district, claiming the lives of at least 13 people and injuring 17 others. Balochistan Information Minister Achakzai reported that JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Wassay, contesting elections from PB-3, remained unharmed. He assured the public that terrorists would not succeed in their objectives and emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring peaceful elections.

Balochistan Caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai stated that preliminary investigations revealed the explosive material was planted in a motorcycle, with further inquiries underway. Despite the tragic incidents, he affirmed that Balochistan would not succumb to terrorism and reiterated the government’s resolve to hold peaceful elections.

Expressing solidarity, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali conveyed his regret over the Pishin blast during a telephone conversation with Balochistan’s governor and chief minister. Meanwhile, Caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ejaz condemned the attacks, vowing to confront those seeking to disrupt the democratic process and assuring that the government would take all necessary measures to ensure peace during the elections.