A horrific explosion ripped through an election office in PB-47 constituency of Khanozai in Pishin district on Wednesday, leaving at least 17 people dead and 21 injured.
Levies sources confirmed the devastating attack, which targeted the election office of former provincial minister Asfandyar Khan Kakar, who is a candidate for this constituency.
Casualties and Rescue Efforts: According to initial reports, eight individuals had lost their lives in the blast, while 10 others sustained injuries of varying severity. Later, the death toll was revised to 14, with at least 21 injured, as per Levies officials and the doctor at the Pishin DHQ Hospital.
Rescue teams are diligently working to transport the bodies and injured to the Pishin DHQ Hospital for immediate medical attention.
The Pishin assistant commissioner said those injured critically will be shifted to Quetta.
Target and Motive: The specific target of the attack remains unclear at this time. While the explosion occurred at the election office of Asfandyar Kakar, it’s crucial to investigate whether he was the intended target or if the attack aimed to disrupt the upcoming general elections.
The Khanozai assistant commissioner told Samaa TV that the explosive material was fixed to a motorcycle.
According to caretaker Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai, six people had been killed as per the information available. He said Levies and police officials had been deployed around the blast site.
He claimed that the blast was an unsuccessful attempt at sabotaging the election process in Balochistan, adding that the elections will go ahead as planned despite the unfortunate incident.
He also announced three days of mourning in the province on behalf of the Balochistan government.
Caretaker Balochistan Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has condemned the Pishin blast and sought a report from the provincial home department. He has also issued instructions to use all available resources to arrest those responsible, saying such incidents were a conspiracy to sabotage peaceful elections.
He further asserted that those responsible should be brought to justice and that people must go out and vote tomorrow.
Heightened Security Concerns: This incident underscores the volatile security situation in Pakistan, particularly in the lead-up to the highly anticipated general elections scheduled for Thursday. Authorities are likely to enhance security measures across the country to prevent further violence and ensure the peaceful conduct of the polls.
Investigation Underway: Levies officials are currently investigating the explosion, gathering evidence, and piecing together the sequence of events. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
ECP takes notice
The election commission took notice of the blast and sought an immediate report from the Balochistan chief secretary and the police chief. It also ordered the authorities to take immediate action against those responsible.
The PB-47 Pishin 1 constituency consists of a total population of 296,840, of which 104,156 are registered voters.
The candidates running for this seat of the provincial assembly are Kakar, as well as JUI-F’s Maulvi Kamaluddin, ANP’s Abdul Bari, PML-N’s Aemal Khan, PkMAP’s Fareedullah Khan Panezai and several independents.