At least 35 people were killed, including a police officer, while over 45 sustained injuries in an explosion in Balochistan's Mastung district on Friday — the second major blast in the district in September.
Mastung Assistant Commissioner Atta Ul Munim said that the explosion took place near the mosque where people were gathering to mark Eid Miladun Nabi — the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The AC said that the explosion — which law enforcers believe is a suicide blast — took place near Madina Mosque. He said that the people had to participate in a procession later.
According to the district administration, Mastung's Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Nawaz Gashkori is among the deceased.
Provincial Caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said those critically injured in the blast are being shifted to Quetta with emergency enforced across the city’s hospitals.
Achakzai said that if required, arrangements should be made for the immediate transfer of the seriously injured to Karachi. The hospitals in Karachi are being contacted on behalf of the health department, he added.
"The provincial government will bear all the expenses for the treatment of the injured," he highlighted.
The district administration of Quetta said that more than 30 injured in the blast are being transferred to Shaheed Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Memorial Hospital.
The hospital management said medical aid was being provided to the injured.
Balochistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Abdul Khalique Shaikh said DSP Mastung embraced martyrdom while stopping the suicide bomber.
"The aim of terrorism is to create insecurity and instability in Balochistan. Action has been ordered against the elements involved in the blast and those supporting it," he said.
The IG added that three more police officials were injured in the explosion, while details of casualties will be released soon.
This is the second major blast that has terrorised Mastung over the last 15 days. In the previous blast on September 14, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah and several others were injured.
Mastung has remained a target of terror attacks for the past several years with a major attack in July 2018 being one of the deadliest in the district's history during which over 200 were injured and at least 128 were killed, including Mir Siraj Khan Raisan — a provincial assembly candidate from the then-newly-formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).
Provincial caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki has announced three-day mourning across the province following the tragedy while Achakzai said the national flag will fly at half-mast on government buildings during the mourning period.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq strongly condemned the incident, expressing regret over the loss of lives in the incident.
PM Kakar also poured in his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the explosion. He directed the authorities concerned to provide medical aid to the injured.
Balochistan interim Interior Minister Zubair Jamali has condemned the Mastung blast, seeking a report of the incident.
President Dr Arif Alvi has also condemned the deadly explosion in the Balochistan district.
Condemning the terror attack, caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said the nation’s morale cannot be weakened by the cowardly acts of terrorism.
"Entire Pakistan is united against the scourge of terrorism. Terrorist elements do not deserve any concession," the minister said.
He added that the government will completely eliminate terrorism with cooperation from the security forces and the public.
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti, in a statement, condemned the blast and noted that the state had a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorists.