Karachi, Pakistan: Tragedy struck as two powerful explosions shook separate mosques in Pakistan on Friday. The first horrific incident occurred in Pakistan’s volatile Balochistan province, where a suicide blast near the Madina Mosque in the Mastung district claimed the lives of at least 56 people and left over 50 others severely injured. The victims had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad when the tragedy unfolded.
Mastung’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Nawaz Gashkori, who was on duty for the rally, tragically lost his life in the attack. The explosion was later confirmed as a “suicide blast,” with the attacker detonating himself in close proximity to the DSP’s vehicle.
The timing of the attack raised suspicions, occurring just a day after the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had eliminated a key Islamic State (ISIS) commander in the Mastung district.
The injured were rapidly transported to medical facilities, and an emergency was declared in hospitals to manage the influx of casualties. District Health Officer Rashid Muhammad Saeed reported the grim toll, with over 50 fatalities and several individuals in critical condition. Concerns were expressed that the number of casualties could further rise.
Rescue teams were promptly dispatched to Mastung, with critically injured persons being transferred to Quetta. Balochistan’s interim Information Minister, Jan Achakzai, condemned the act of terror, emphasizing the need for unity against those seeking to disrupt religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan. He asserted that the explosion was “unbearable” and called for the arrest of those responsible.
Caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki echoed the sentiment, stating that the perpetrators of such heinous acts did not deserve leniency. He declared a three-day period of mourning throughout the province as a mark of respect for the victims.
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti strongly condemned the attack, emphasizing that terrorists had no faith or religion. He assured the public that all necessary resources were being employed in the rescue operation and that the injured would receive the best possible care.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister and President of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shehbaz Sharif, condemned the act as detestable and offered condolences to the affected families.
In a bid to bolster security, Punjab police confirmed that officers were on high alert during Friday prayers at mosques across the province. Karachi police also heightened security measures in response to the Mastung blast.
This tragic incident marks the second major explosion to afflict Mastung in the past 15 days, further underscoring the ongoing security challenges in the region.
Mastung has endured a series of terror attacks over the years, including a devastating assault in July 2018, which claimed the lives of at least 128 people. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of several terrorist outfits, has been implicated in multiple deadly attacks across the country, including assaults on military establishments and the infamous 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad.
In a similar vein, terrorist attacks have targeted mosques in Pakistan, with a suicide bomber causing devastation during afternoon prayers in Peshawar last January, claiming the lives of over 100 people. Such acts of terror continue to pose a significant threat to the nation’s security and stability.
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