Balochistan in mourning after Mastung suicide blast martyrs 128, including Raisani

QUETTA: The Balochistan government has announced two-day mourning in the province after a suicide blast at a political rally in Mastung martyred 128 people and injured more than 150, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country´s history.

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

Authorities said the suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where the political meeting was taking place, in Mastung’s Darengarh area. The blast was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of the general election on July 25, and came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured in a bomb blast targetting a JUI-F convoy in Bannu on Friday.

The national flag will be flown at half-mast at all public buildings in the province. The BAP has also cancelled its election rally in Quetta today in memory of the deceased.

The Pakistan Bar Council has announced two-day mourning and is boycotting all court proceedings today in condemnation of the tragedy.

Funeral prayers for Siraj Raisani will be offered at 3pm in the provincial capital today. He will be laid to rest in Kanak, Mastung.

Levies personnel said on Saturday that evidence is being collected from the site of the attack, which has been secured by the forensics team. A case would be registered against the attack once all necessary proceedings have been conducted, officials added.

The Mastung attack was the most lethal since Taliban militants assaulted Peshawar’s Army Public School in 2014, killing over 150 people, mostly children, and one of the deadliest in the country´s long struggle with terrorism.

On Tuesday, a bomb targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in Peshawar, martyring local ANP leader Haroon Bilour along with 21 others. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

The military has warned of security threats in the run-up to the election on July 25, and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

The fresh spate of violence was strongly condemned by political leaders and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who expressed sorrow over the loss of innocent lives and vowed that attempts of inimical forces to derail important democratic activity shall not succeed.