Pakistan elections: 22 killed, several injured in twin blasts in Balochistan
A day ahead of the Pakistan General Elections, two blasts took place near electoral candidates' offices in Pakistan's Balochistan, local officials said on Wednesday. As per the report, the blast has killed 22 people and has also raised concerns over security in the lead up to Thursday's polls.
At least 22 people were killed and more than 40 others injured in two separate explosions in Pakistan targeting poll candidates in Balochistan on the eve of elections. The first attack occurred in the Pishin district, around 50 kilometres from the city of Quetta.
According to Pakistan's GEO News, the second explosion happened outside the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) headquarters in the Killa Saifullah area. The attacks, which occurred one day before the legislative elections, have not yet been attributed to any one organisation.
Balochistan’s caretaker minister Mir Zubair Khan Jamali took notice of the “suicide blast” outside a political party’s office of independent candidate Asfandyar Kaka. He expressed regret over the deaths in the blast and sought a report from the deputy commissioner.
Jamali stated that the adversaries of Pakistan aimed to sow discord. According to the Dawn newspaper, he stated, "Such an attack will not affect the election process." The explosion in Pishin has been noted by Pakistan's electoral commission, which has asked the provincial authorities for quick updates.
The poll body stated, "The chief secretary and the chief of Balochistan police have been directed to take action against those involved in the incident by the election commission, which has sought immediate reports from them." Tens of thousands of police and paramilitary personnel were stationed around Pakistan to maintain order in the wake of a recent spike in terrorist strikes, particularly in Balochistan. Nevertheless, the explosion still occurred.
For almost 20 years, Baloch nationalists have been engaged in a low-level insurgency within the gas-rich region located near the border between Afghanistan and Iran. Baloch nationalists started an insurrection for independence after first requesting a portion of the province's riches.
With 240 million citizens, 128 million of whom are able to cast ballots, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. With 266 seats in the national assembly up for grabs, plus an additional 70 seats set aside for women and minorities, and 749 seats in the regional parliaments, almost 18,000 candidates are vying for seats in the four province assemblies and the national assembly.