25 killed in Pakistan suicide attack by Islamic State, Senate deputy chairman injured
Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, deputy chairman of the upper house of Pakistan’s Parliament, was injured and 25 others were killed in a suicide attack by the Islamic State in Balochistan province.Updated: May 13, 2017 07:23 IST
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
The deputy chairman of Pakistan’s upper house of parliament escaped an assassination attempt when an Islamic State suicide bomber targeted his convoy in the restive Balochistan province on Friday, killing 25 people and injuring dozens more.
Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, deputy chairman of the Senate and a senior leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl party, was among some 50 people injured in the attack in Mastung town, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
Government officials confirmed 25 people were killed in the attack. JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Malik said Haideri’s vehicle was targeted by the blast.
The Islamic State claimed the attack, saying through its Amaq news agency that a bomber wearing an explosive vest was responsible.
The bomber struck soon after Haideri’s convoy left a madrassa or seminary in Mastung, about 70 km from the provincial capital of Quetta.
“I am alive...broken pieces of the windscreen hit me…I am injured but safe,” Haideri told a TV news channel soon after the attack. “I was sitting in the front seat when the strong explosion occurred...I did not suffer any major injury. ...I can’t say why the blast (happened) or what led to it.”
The powerful blast damaged several vehicles in the convoy. Haideri, who was returning from an event at the madrassa, was taken to a nearby hospital. Media reports described his condition as stable.
Most of the dead and injured were workers of the JUI-F.
Paramilitary forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned the attack.
The Mastung region has been a hotbed of militant activity in the past, though most previous attacks in the area were carried out by the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi on the Shia minority.
The Islamic State carried out two major attacks in Balochistan last year. An attack on lawyers in Quetta killed nearly 70 people, most of them young lawyers, while an attack on a shrine frequented by Shias in remote Kuzdar area killed more than 60 people.
First Published: May 12, 2017 15:13 IST