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KILLA ABDULLAH/ PISHIN: At least 28 people were killed and over 30 injured in two separate bomb blasts targeting the offices of candidates contesting the Feb 8 general elections in Pishin and Killa Saifullah districts of Balochistan on Wednesday.

The attack comes a day before Pakistan is all set to hold general elections 2024 on Feb 8. The much-feared terror wave raised question-marks about the security arrangements for Thursday’s polling.

According to details, the terrorism act in Killa Abdullah was carried out outside an election office of Maulana Abdul Wasay, a JUI-F leader, as people had gathered on the premises for a meeting.

Sensitive areas in Balochistan: Internet service to remain suspended

The first blast took place in Pishin where a bomb fitted in a motorbike went off with a big bang inside a polling station belonging to former Balochistan minister and independent candidate Asfandyar Khan Kakar, located at PB-47 in Khanozai Tehsil of Pishin District.

The independent candidate was not present inside his office when the explosion took place but his workers and supporters were present.

At least 14 people were killed and another 30 were injured in the Pishin, around 50 kilometers from Quetta and around 100 kilometers from the border with Afghanistan

Security forces personnel swiftly responded to the terrorist explosion, initiating rescue operations and securing the area.

The injured were rushed to a local hospital and those who were in serious condition were shifted to Quetta hospitals.

Pishin Deputy Commissioner Jumma Dad Khan informed media: “The blast took place in the office of the candidate of Nokandi area of Pishin district and it was not a suicide blast.”

The second blast targeted the election office of JUI-F candidate for PB-3 Maulana Abdul Wasay in Killa Saifullah in which 13 people were killed and around 30 injured. Doctors at a local hospital confirmed that 30 wounded were brought there for treatment.

Emergency has been declared at the Civil Hospital Quetta as the health facility is tackling a number of seriously wounded persons.

With the law enforcing agency busy in securing the crime scene and launching a preliminary probe, there are reports that the bomb in Pishin was planted in a bike parked outside the premises.

Reacting to the Pishin terror attack news, Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said no sacrifice could deter the people of Pakistan from participating in the democratic process.

“We are not facing the security challenges for the first time. The people of Pakistan have fought this war for over a decade now,” Solangi said, adding that a total of 666 people had lost their lives during the 2018 elections.

On the other hand, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took notice of the terror attacks and sought a report from the Balochistan chief secretary and the police chief, directing them to take stern action against the perpetrators.

The latest bombings have taken place as terrorists have targeted the candidates and their supporters in recent weeks not only in Balochistan but also Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in an attempt to sabotage the election process and impact the outcome.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took notice of the bomb attacks and sought a report from Balochistan chief secretary and inspector general of police.

The commission also directed for immediate action against the culprits. Balochistan’s caretaker Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Zubair Khan Jamali has taken notice of the blast in Pishin. In a statement, he expressed regret over the lives lost in the incident and sought a report from the deputy commissioner.

He said the country’s enemies were looking to create instability. “The election process will not be affected by such an attack.”

Meanwhile, two workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-Parliamentarians (PTI-P) were injured after a hand grenade was thrown at a convoy of the party’s candidate for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly seat PK-110 in South Waziristan District on Wednesday.

Naseerullah Wazir, the PTI-P candidate, however, remained safe in the attack. More than half a million security officers began deploying Wednesday, with authorities distributing ballot papers to more than 90,000 polling stations.

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