At least 43 individuals, including a police official, tragically lost their lives, while over 50 others were injured in a devastating explosion in Balochistan’s Mastung district.
Mastung Assistant Commissioner Atta Ul Munim detailed that the explosion occurred near the Madina Mosque as devotees gathered to commemorate Eid Miladun Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A procession was scheduled to follow these commemorations. Initial reports suggest this was a suicide attack. Among the deceased was Mastung’s Deputy Superintendent of Police, Nawaz Gashkori.
Provincial Caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai mentioned that critically injured individuals are being transferred to Quetta and, if needed, will be sent to Karachi for specialized care. He assured that the provincial government would shoulder all medical expenses.
Balochistan’s Inspector General of Police, Abdul Khalique Shaikh, noted the bravery of DSP Mastung, who was martyred trying to thwart the suicide bomber. He emphasized the necessity to tackle the roots of terrorism that aim to destabilize Balochistan.
Additional reports indicated that three more police officials sustained injuries. Munir Ahmed, the deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters that the bomber detonated near the DSP’s vehicle.
A distressing pattern emerges as this incident comes on the heels of another explosion 15 days prior, in which a prominent political leader and others were injured. Historical data indicates Mastung has been a hotspot for such heinous acts, with a significant attack in July 2018 marking one of the deadliest, with over 200 injured and at least 128 fatalities.
National Mourning and Condemnations
In response to the tragedy, Provincial caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki announced three days of mourning across the province. Government buildings will also lower the national flag to half-mast during this period.
Many prominent figures condemned the attack, including Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq and President Dr Arif Alvi. Emphasizing unity against such acts, caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi stated that the nation stands firm against terrorism and will collaborate with security forces and the public to eradicate this menace.
Reiterating a hard stance against such acts, Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti highlighted the nation’s zero-tolerance policy towards terrorists. Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Sindh Interim Chief Minister Maqbool Baqar also joined the chorus of condemnations, with Baqar labelling the perpetrators as “enemies of humanity”.