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52 dead, 50 injured in 'suicide' blast near Balochistan mosque

IANS | September 29, 2023 04:49 PM

QUETTA: At least 52 people, including a police officer, have died and some 50 others injured in a suspected suicide blast that occurred on Friday near a mosque in Pakistan's Balochistan province as people gathered for a religious procession to mark Eid Milad-un-Nabi, officials said.

The incident took place near the Madina Masjid in Mastung district.

The number of casualties was confirmed to Dawn news by District Health Officer (DHO) Abdul Razzaq Shahi, while City Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri said a police official was among the dead.

Earlier, Saeed Mirwani, chief executive of Shaheed Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Memorial Hospital, told Dawn that 34 people were dead while more than 130 were injured.

Shahi clarified that the higher number was because of double entries from two hospitals, and that the number of the injured was approximately 50.

Mirwani also confirmed that 28 bodies have been brought to the hospital so far, while 22 were taken to the Mastung district hospital.

Provincial Caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said those critically injured in the blast are being shifted to Quetta with emergency enforced across the city’s hospitals, Geo News reported.

Achakzai said that if required, arrangements should be made for the immediate transfer of the seriously injured to Karachi.

The hospitals in Karachi are being contacted on behalf of the health department, he said, adding that "the provincial government will bear all the expenses for the treatment of the injured".

This is the second major blast that has terrorised Mastung over the last 15 days.

In the previous blast on September 14, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah and several others were injured, Geo News reported.

A week before that, a Levies official was gunned down at a bus stand by unidentified men, while two others who were passing by were injured.

In May, unidentified attackers targeted a polio vaccination team in the Killi Sour Karez area on the outskirts of Mastung, resulting in the killing of a policeman.

In October 2022, three people were killed and six others injured in a bomb attack targeting two vehicles in the mountainous area of Qabu in Mastung.

Mastung has remained a target of terror attacks for the past several years with a major attack in July 2018 being one of the deadliest in the district's history during which over 200 were injured and at least 128 were killed, including Mir Siraj Khan Raisan -- a provincial assembly candidate from the then-newly-formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

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