Pakistan Political Offices Attacked; 29 Dead Ahead of Elections

  • Publish date: Wednesday، 07 February 2024
Pakistan Political Offices Attacked; 29 Dead Ahead of Elections

Two bombings struck separate political offices in southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, claiming at least 29 lives and injuring dozens, just a day before the scheduled parliamentary elections.

Baluchistan province, home to a persistent insurgency and various militant groups, witnessed the attacks, heightening concerns amid existing political discord and economic turmoil. In Pakistan, pre-election violence is common, with challenges in controlling militant factions. Despite a surge in attacks, especially in Baluchistan, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The initial attack occurred at the election office of independent candidate Asfandyar Khan in the Pashin district, resulting in 17 casualties and over 20 injuries. Subsequently, another bombing targeted the office of a prominent radical Islamist party in Qilla Saifullah, located about 130 kilometers away, resulting in at least 12 deaths and eight injuries.

The Jamiat Ulema Islam party, with ties to the Taliban, has faced attacks from the Islamic State group and other militants in recent years.

Baluchistan, a province rich in gas resources bordering Afghanistan and Iran, has been grappling with a nationalist insurgency for over two decades.

The Baluch nationalists typically target security forces rather than civilians or political entities. Despite the violence, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul-Haq-Kakar expressed condolences, vowing to maintain law and order for the scheduled elections.

A three-day mourning period was announced, yet the government affirmed its commitment to conducting the elections as planned. Baluchistan Liberation Army, a banned outfit, has previously targeted security forces in the region. The Taliban, also active in Baluchistan, pledged to refrain from attacking election rallies. As the nation recalls the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto during an election rally, security measures have intensified, especially for her son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, leading the campaign for the Pakistan People’s Party.