Pakistan rocked by deadly blasts day before general elections, over 25 killed | World News - Hindustan Times
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Pakistan rocked by deadly blasts day before general elections, over 25 killed

Feb 07, 2024 03:49 PM IST

Pakistan blasts: Bomb blasts kill at least 26 at election office in Pakistan's Balochistan. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Pakistan blasts: Two bombs exploded at the election office of an independent candidate in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Wednesday, just a day before parliamentary elections are set to take place.

Security personnel inspect the site of a bomb blast outside the office of an independent candidate in Pishin district, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Quetta on February 7, 2024, on the eve of Pakistan's national elections.(AFP)
Security personnel inspect the site of a bomb blast outside the office of an independent candidate in Pishin district, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Quetta on February 7, 2024, on the eve of Pakistan's national elections.(AFP)

According to officials of the provincial government, the blasts have resulted in at least 26 deaths and over two dozen injuries.

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The gas-rich province, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, has been dealing with insurgency by Baluch nationalists for over two decades, initially driven by resource-sharing demands and later evolving into a quest for independence.

Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups also maintain a significant presence in the region.

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No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The first attack, resulting in 14 casualties, occurred at the office of an independent election candidate in Pishin district. Subsequently, another explosion in Qilla Saifullah, near the Afghan border, targeted an office of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), a religious party frequently subjected to militant attacks, leading to at least 10 fatalities, according to the province's officials.

"The Election Commission has asked the chief secretary and inspector general of Balochistan for immediate reports and instructed them to take action against those behind the events," an Election Commission spokesperson said in a statement.

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Over 5,00,000 security officers have been deployed for the elections to be held on Thursday, as officials distributed ballot papers to more than 90,000 polling stations.

The election has been marred by several controversies, with accusations of pre-poll rigging after a crackdown on the party of former prime minister Imran Khan, who won the 2018 poll but was later ousted from power by a vote of no-confidence.

Security is a major concern with two candidates shot dead and numerous others targeted in attacks across the country in the lead-up to Thursday's vote.

Campaigning officially concluded on Tuesday night, and voting is scheduled to begin at 8:00 am local time on Thursday, closing at 5:00 pm.

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In a country with a population of 24 crore, nearly 12.8 crore are eligible to vote. A total of almost 18,000 candidates are competing for seats in the national and provincial assemblies, including 266 directly contested seats in the national assembly, with an additional 70 reserved for women and minorities. There are also 749 positions in the regional parliaments.

(Inputs from wires)

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