Balochistan blast: Pakistan's minister alleges external involvement in suicide attack; toll rises to 60
Balochistan blast: The Pakistan suicide attack targeted a procession to celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday near the Madina Masjid at a place called Mastung.
Pakistan interior minister Sarfaraz Bugti has blamed India's Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence agency for a suicide blast in Balochistan on Friday that killed 60 people and injured 60 others. The Indian government is yet to make an official statement on Bugti's allegation.
The attack targeted a procession to celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday near the Madina Masjid at a place called Mastung. The blast tore through the mosque in the southern province of Balochistan after the bomber detonated his explosives near a police vehicle where people were gathering for the procession.
Pakistani officials have long claimed that India sponsors violent groups in Pakistan - claims India has always denied.
"Civil, military and all other institutions will jointly strike against the elements involved in the Mastung suicide bombing," Bugti told media in Balochistan's capital, Quetta.
"RAW is involved in the suicide attack," he said, but did not provide details or evidence on the alleged involvement.
Wasim Baig, the spokesman for Balochistan's health department, said seven more people had died in hospital since Friday, which had caused the rise in the death toll, adding that more patients remained in critical condition, news agency Reuters reported.
A second attack on Friday at a mosque in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had killed at least five people. Police on Saturday filed a report to launch an investigation, saying they had sent DNA from the suicide bomb attacker to be analysed.
No group has claimed responsibility for either attack. A surge in terror attacks in Pakistan's western provinces has cast a shadow on preparations and public campaigning in the run-up to January's general elections, but until now the attacks had mostly targeted security forces.
The Pakistani Taliban (TTP), responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan since the group's formation in 2007, denied responsibility for Friday's blasts.
On Saturday, the Dawn quoted a statement from the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) that said an FIR with murder charges and terrorism offences has been filed against an unidentified attacker.
Meanwhile, the caretaker government of Balochistan announced three days of mourning in the wake of the attack.
The Pakistan daily also gave a chronological dataset to show how Pakistan has “witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, after the TTP ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year".
Earlier this month, at least 11 people, including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah, were injured in a blast in the same district; a week prior to that, a security official was gunned down at a bus stand by unidentified men. In May this year, unidentified attackers targeted a polio vaccination team in the Killi Sour Karez area on the outskirts of Mastung, resulting in a policeman being killed, it said.