Sunday, 26 May 2019
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128 killed, 150 injured as suicide blast hits political meeting in SW Pakistan

QUETTA/BANNU: At least 128 people, including Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, were martyred with over 150 wounded when a massive suicide explosion hit an election gathering in the Darengarh area of Mastung on Friday, officials said.

Senior police official Qaim Lashari said more than 1,000 people were in attendance at the rally in the town of Mastung. Officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast. They said that around 16-20 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the explosion.

“Human remains and red bloody pieces of flesh were littered everywhere in the compound. Injured people were crying in pain and fear,” said local journalist Attah Ullah. One political worker, Salam Baloch, said he heard a “deafening blast” and saw a “thick grey ball of fire and smoke”.

“People put… bodies and the injured in rickshaws and other vehicles and rushed them to hospital before rescue officials arrived,” he added. Emergency workers also shuttled victims in ambulances as bystanders sobbed in the darkness due to the lack of electricity in the impoverished area. Survivors in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and nearby Quetta, where they were greeted by tense crowds of mourners, an AFP reporter said. The deceased could be seen covered in shrouds.

Soon after the blast, the security forces and police cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to nab suspects. The police said some 40 cops had been deployed at the venue where Akram Durrani addressed the gathering in Huwaid. Akram Durrani has been attacked in the past as well. In 2015, two people were killed and three others injured in an attack on the convoy of Akram Durrani in the Bakkakhel area during the local government election.

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