International desk, July 13: At least 70 people, including politician Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, were killed and 120 injured in a deadly blast in Balochistan’s Mastung district of Pakistan on Friday afternoon, provincial Health Minister Faiz Kakar confirmed to DawnNewsTV.Levies sources said the blast targeted a corner meeting organised by Siraj, a Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate for PB-35 (Mastung). “Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to his wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta,” Agha Umar Bungalzai, provincial home minister, told AFP
“It apparently was a suicide attack,”he added, though that could not be immediately confirmed.
The injured were shifted to nearby hospitals, including District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Mastung and Quetta Civil Hospital, for medical treatment. The critically injured were shifted to CMH Quetta.
The younger brother of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Nawabzada Siraj had been chief of the Balochistan Muttahida Mahaz (BMM), formed by Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani in the 1970s, till June this year.
He had recently merged BMM with the newly-formed BAP.
He was contesting PB-35 (Mastung) for the 2018 elections against his own brother Nawab Aslam Raisani, who is contesting as an independent candidate.
Siraj’s teenage son, Hakmal Raisani, had been killed in a grenade attack on his vehicle in the same district in 2011. Siraj, who had been present inside the vehicle at the time of the attack, had escaped unhurt.
Shrugging off the threat to his own life, he had said at the time that he would continue to “raise the slogan of Pakistan”.
The Mastung bombing was the latest — and deadliest — of a string of attacks targeting politically exposed persons ahead of the July 25 election.
Earlier today, a blast targeted former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy in Bannu. While Durrani remained safe, four people were killed and 32 others injured in the attack.
Last night, two people had been injured in a blast near BAP’s election office in Khuzdar.
On July 10, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar’s Yaktoot area. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which had also claimed responsibility for 2012 attack that killed Haroon’s father, Bashir Bilour.
On July 7, at least seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.
Earlier this month, an attack on a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate’s office in North Waziristan’s Razmak tehsil had injured 10.