Tragedy Strikes Balochistan Ahead of General Elections

Two blasts in Balochistan, Pakistan, resulting in 28 deaths and 40 injuries, have raised concerns about security and electoral processes, prompting international condemnation of terrorism.

Tragedy Strikes Balochistan Ahead of General Elections
Photo Source: Pakistan today

07-02-2024

Hasom Jang

Pakistan Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence

Balochistan, Pakistan, witnessed a heartbreaking turn of events on the eve of the general elections, with two separate blasts in Pishin and Qila Saifullah claiming 28 lives and leaving over 40 injured. These incidents have raised significant concerns about the security of polling stations and the overall electoral process.

The first blast targeted the election campaign office of independent candidate Asfandyar Kakar in Pishin, resulting in 18 casualties and 23 injuries. The explosive device was planted in a motorcycle near the election office. A second blast followed at the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) election office in Qila Saifullah, claiming 10 lives and injuring 20.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Ali Mardan Domki condemned the attacks as an "attempt to sabotage the process of peaceful elections." The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) promptly took notice of the incidents, summoning reports from relevant authorities. Interim Interior Minister Mir Zubair Jamali assured that the election process would continue undeterred. The Quetta Bar Association declared a three-day mourning period.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attacks, emphasizing their clear connection to the imminent general elections. Iran also expressed strong condemnation, extending heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Pakistan.

The recent blasts follow a series of violent incidents, including grenade attacks on election offices, indicating escalating security challenges in Pakistan. A security report revealed a record six-year high in violence-related fatalities and injuries from terror attacks in 2023, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan being primary centers of violence.

As Balochistan mourns the tragic loss of lives and grapples with heightened security concerns, the international community and Pakistan's leadership stand united in condemning these cowardly acts of terrorism. These incidents underscore the urgent need for enhanced efforts to address extremism and terrorism, ensuring the safety and democratic participation of the Pakistani people. The somber event serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges posed by terrorism in the region, emphasizing the critical importance of collective efforts to establish lasting peace and stability.

 

 

Sources and further readings:

28 dead, over 40 injured as back-to-back blasts rock Pishin, Qila Saifullah | Pakistan Today. Retrieved 7 February 2024, https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2024/02/07/28-dead-over-40-injured-as-back-to-back-blasts-rock-pishin-qila-saifullah/

28 killed as back-to-back blasts hit Balochistan on eve of general elections—Pakistan—DAWN.COM. Retrieved 7 February 2024, https://www.dawn.com/news/1811908/28-killed-as-back-to-back-blasts-hit-balochistan-on-eve-of-general-elections

At least 26 killed, 50 injured as two separate blasts target political offices in Balochistan. Retrieved 7 February 2024, https://www.geo.tv/latest/530273-7-killed-as-independent-candidates-office-targetted-in-pishin

Two separate blasts targeting election offices kill 26, injure 50 in Balochistan. Retrieved 7 February 2024, https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/1155405-7-killed-in-blast-outside-independent-candidates-office-in-pishin