MASTUNG, Pakistan: A suicide attack on an election rally in southwestern city of Mastung, Balochistan, has taken 129 lives, government officials have confirmed, as Over 200 people still fight for their lives.
A suicide attakcer struck an election rally of Nawabzada Siraj Raisani of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP,) a newly formed political group, in the southwestern town of Drigarh, about 35km south of Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta, on Friday afternoon. The explosion hit a packed crowd only moments after the Raisani was taking the stage.
Raisani, who was running for a provincial assembly seat in Pakistan’s general election later this month, was killed, his brother Lashkari Raisani told reporters.
At Quetta’s main civil hospital, where at least 73 bodies of those killed were transported after the attack, a crowd of people at the morgue waited to receive the bodies of relatives killed in the blast.“We are still treating 110 of the wounded who were brought here,” said hospital official Shamim Akhtar. “Those who were seriously wounded have already been operated upon.”
Both the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also knows as Islamic State, ISIS, and Da’ish) and a faction of Pakistan Taliban have claimed responsibility of the deadly attack in separate statements to the press.
Survivors of the devastating attack blame the security authorities for failing to provide adequate security. Many survivors and next to kin have come forward to announce their dissatisfaction with the security agencies.
One survivor Bangul Khan, who is being treated for his injuries in Quetta’s Civil Hospital, was meters away when the explosion occurred. “I was standing on the stage,” he said, “Siraj came on stage … and when he started speaking, the explosion occurred. I don’t know what happened after that.”Khan had shrapnel from the suicide blast lodged in his leg and shoulder. At least six of his relatives were killed in the attack.
“There was no security from the government there. There were roughly 60 or 70 of [Siraj Raisani’s] personal security, one of them you can see lying here,” he says as he gestures to a nearby bed.
There was no security, no checking. People were coming and going as they pleased … there were security personnel there, but they were not checking anyone.
Another survivor Israrullah, wounded in the neck and on his arms, says he was dragged to the political rally by his uncle. “I was right at the back, and the explosion took place in the centre,” he told the media. “There were a lot of people wounded, and I ran away. There were a lot of people killed, too, [because] the blast occurred right in the middle of the crowd.”
Jameel Ahmed, Israrullah’s uncle, was among the scores of people killed.
“There was no security, no checking. People were coming and going as they pleased … there were security personnel there, but they were not checking anyone,” Israrullah added.