Violence Ahead of General Elections
Another spate of deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan have killed at least 150 people ahead of general elections on July 25, sparking renewed concerns of possible violence during the upcoming poll.
The deadliest attack occurred in the Balochistan Mastung region, targetting a political rally that killed one prominent politician who was campaigning for an assembly seat in the southern province of the region.
The attack injured almost 200 civilians and most of them were treated in Quetta Civil Hospital. Most of the victims sustained burns and head trauma.
Local officials say the Mastung attacker detonated a bomb inside a crowded compound where the campaign rally was being held.
This is one of the deadliest terror attacks this year. The Balochistan authorities declared two days of mourning and suspension of political and campaigning activities.
Friday’s death toll surpasses that of a 2007 terrorist attack, when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s convoy was targeted and 139 people were killed.
The Fight Against Terrorism is Far From Over
The latest terror attack in Pakistan has sparked criticism against the government which turned a deaf ear to the terrorism-related issues.
Two Pakistani media expressed their opinion on the recent bloody terror attacks, highlighting skepticism of government claims about its remarkable efforts to combat terrorism.
Reacting to the spate of terror attacks, the Express Tribune, in a stinging editorial, said, “There is a blood-drenched hole in the claim of the government to have rolled back the forces of terrorism in Pakistan.”
The Dawn newspaper in its editorial noted that the sudden upsurge in terrorist incidents calls for several urgent responses, including state protection extended to all candidates who ask for it without delay.
Terror Not Something New In Pakistan
Pakistan has been rocked by terror perpetrated by the Pakistani Taliban through the years, The Pakistani Taliban is composed of dozens of militant factions and armed gangs since 2007. The militant group rejects Pakistan’s constitution and aims for the realization of the institution of sharia law in the country.
The Pakistani Taliban’s presence in Karachi made prominence in recent years. One of its most notorious attacks was the 17-hour siege of a Pakistani naval base near the airport in 2011.
This is not the first time for Pakistan to be hit by a deadly suicide attack. In fact in 2013, a suicide blast at the funeral procession of a slain police officer killed at least 38 people including three senior police officials and more than 50 have been injured in the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta. Most of the dead and injured were policemen as the blast occurred outside Police Lines’ mosque where funeral prayers for the slain police officer were to be held.
In 2015, suicide blasts killed 14 people when suicide bombers attacked a Christian community in Lahore. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack and even later warned of more to come.