Pakistan grapples with two bombings a day before the country’s elections. On Wednesday, February 7, the country was truck with disaster after two bombs went off in Balochistan province right outside the offices of candidates.
A total of 28 have been reported dead with over dozens injured.
The first explosion went off in Pishin district, north of Quetta city, killing 16 people. The second blast was to the east at Qila Saifullah leading to the death of another 12, as per BBC.
The bombings have occurred at a crucial time, right on the eve of Pakistan’s elections. Investigation is underway to arrive at the details and causes of the blasts.
The Pishin district bombing happened in front of an independent candidate’s party office while the second blast targeted at the election office of the JUI-F party took place in the main bazaar of Qila Saifullah, about 190 km east of Quetta, according to a senior police official’s statement to AFP news agency.
Authorities have expressed concerns over further rise in casualties.
Pakistan’s Elections Are Pre-Rigged?
With the imprisonment of Imran Khan and multiple leader of his party, PTI, experts have expressed skepticism over the integrity of the upcoming elections with many dubbing it as “pre-rigged” and corrupt.
Khan’s party had won the previous election with an overwhelming majority and the strategic sidelining of some its key members thereby, subduing the party’s influence seems to point in the direction of a political conspiracy. It has also been claimed that most of the criminal charges against the ex-PM are politically-driven.
As a result, the nation has experienced a greater amount of violent uprisings in recent months.
As per reports, Thursday’s elections will mark the return of former three-time PM Nawaz Sharif who reportedly formed an alliance with the military to facilitate his political comeback. He was facing prison sentence during the last elections.
Balochistan’s never-ending saga of violence
Lying close to the borders of Afghanistan, Balochistan has always been a politically fragile region and is home to several militant and separatist groups including the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).
The residents of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and poorest province have often expressed disapproval over the number of seats reserved for the province in Parliament as well as the kind of representatives they are assigned, often forcefully. BBC Urdu also revealed how many belonging to the city of Turbat in Balochistan consider the elections a sham, considering it a “selection”.
Last month, the militant organization Baloch Liberation Army Azad (BLA) issued pamphlets holding themselves accountable for the bombing of an election training office. There has also been several instances of hand grenade attacks on party offices in recent times.
On Wednesday evening, the Information and Public Relations Minister of the Government of Balochistan took to his X handle to provide an update of the bombing assault alongside giving a nod to the uninterrupted progress of the elections on Thursday.