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PM, Balochistan CM offer condolences for Mastung attack victims as death toll rises to 149

Updated July 15, 2018

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PM Nasirul Mulk offers fateha for Mastung attack victims. — DawnNewsTV
PM Nasirul Mulk offers fateha for Mastung attack victims. — DawnNewsTV
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani offers condolences for Mastung attack victims. — DawnNewsTV
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani offers condolences for Mastung attack victims. — DawnNewsTV

Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk on Sunday visited slain Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Nawab Siraj Raisani's family to condole his death in a suicide attack targeting an election gathering in Mastung on Friday.

The prime minister, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Balochistan interim Chief Minister Alauddin Marri all gathered at Sarawan House to offer fateha for Raisani and the others who lost their lives in the Mastung attack.

The visit came as the death toll in the grisly terrorist attack rose to 149 on Sunday, Deputy Commissioner Mastung Qaim Lashari told DawnNewsTV.

He said a total of 186 people were injured in the bombing claimed by the militant Islamic State group. Of them, 70 are under treatment while the rest have been discharged.

Explaining the rise in the toll from 128 to 149, Lashari said the bodies of 21 slain victims had been collected by their relatives from the scene of the attack and have been counted only now.

On Saturday, the federal government declared Sunday a day of national mourning over the recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The PML-N announced on Sunday that the party would be suspending all election-related activities for the day "to mark the observance of the national day of mourning on the Mastung tragedy."

"The attack on political meetings is all the more worrisome given the elections are just 10 days away," the party said, adding that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, interim government and law enforcement agencies to provide foolproof security to political parties and candidates.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan visited Mastung blast victims on Sunday afternoon before meeting members of the Raisani family to offer his condolences.

Speaking to the media after meeting the Raisani family, Khan said that he was sorry for BAP's great loss and that "from what I have read about him, Raisani seemed to be a patriotic citizen. The PTI is sorry for the loss of such an individual."

PML-N Chairman Shahbaz Sharif also visited the Raisani family and said that steps should be taken to ensure swift justice for Siraj Raisani's death. "A commission should be made to investigate this case from all angles," he said.

Speaking about the upcoming election he said, "We have already expressed our reservations about the upcoming elections. There is a strong need for the elections to be free and fair. The country will only move forward if the upcoming election is 100 per cent free of any outside influence."

Raisani's funeral, held yesterday, was attended by Marri, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, provincial ministers, the chief secretary and other top officials.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 named six politicians, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 (Peshawar), Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were killed in an attack targeting the party's election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for killing his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 (Bannu) came under attack. While KP former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a BAP corner meeting in Mastung in which Raisani, who was contesting from PB-35, and at least 145 others, were killed.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the 2014 carnage at Peshawar's Army Public School.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan was informed by Nacta that there are serious security threats to political leaders and electoral candidates and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked.

Meanwhile political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced suspension of political activities across the country in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

"120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that," Bilawal earlier said at a press conference in Peshawar.