Suicide blast rips through Pakistan election rally, killing 128

By Guardian Nigeria

People gather around an ambulance loaded with a dead body following a bomb blast at an election rally in Mastung on July 13, 2018. A bomb killed at least 120 people and injured 40 others during a rally in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, in the day’s second attack on a political event ahead of the July 25 election.BANARAS KHAN / AFP

A suicide blast ripped through a crowd at a political rally in southwest Pakistan Friday killing 128 people and wounding 150, officials told AFP, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history.

The blast in the town of Mastung, near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on July 25, and underscored the fragility of Pakistan’s dramatic gains in security.

Authorities said the suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where the political meeting was taking place.

“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.

“The death toll has risen to 128,” Balochistan home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP. A senior provincial government official also confirmed the figure, adding that 150 others were injured.

Among the dead was Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly-formed local Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Bungalzai said.

The attack was the most lethal since Taliban militants assaulted a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014, killing over 150 people, mostly children, and one of the deadliest in Pakistan’s long struggle with militancy.

It came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated close to another politician’s convoy in Bannu on Friday, near the border with Afghanistan.

The politician — Akram …read more

Read more here:: The Gurdian

      

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