At least 52 people were killed and over 50 injured in a suicide blast near a mosque in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province on Friday as they gathered to celebrate Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, authorities said.
The explosion occurred near Madina Mosque in Mastung district, Geo News reported.
Mastung’s DSP Nawaz Gashkori, who was on duty for the rally, was among the deceased.
The explosion took place when people were gathering to mark Eid Milad un Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed.
City SHO Mohammad Javed Lehri said the explosion was a “suicide blast” and that the bomber exploded himself next to the DSP’s car.
Lehri said the wounded are being shifted to a medical facility while an emergency has been imposed in the hospitals.
At least 52 people were killed and over 50 injured in the blast, Dawn newspaper quoted District Health Officer (DHO) Abdul Razzaq Shahi as saying. Some of the injured were in critical condition.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said rescue teams had been dispatched to Mastung. He added that the critically injured are being transferred to Quetta and an emergency had been imposed in all hospitals.
“The enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan,” Achakzai said. “The explosion is unbearable.”
Caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has directed authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast.
“The perpetrators of the destruction do not deserve any leniency,” he said. “Those who target peaceful processions will be dealt with firmly.”
Chief Minister Domki urged the people to unite against terrorism, adding that Islam is a religion of peace and “those who commit such heinous acts cannot be called Muslims”.
The caretaker CM also announced three days of mourning throughout the province over the tragic incident.
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti also strongly condemned the blast.
Stating that “terrorists have no faith or religion”, Bugti asserted that all resources were being put to use during the rescue operation. He added that no effort would be spared in treating the injured and that terrorist elements did not deserve any concession.
Soon after the explosion, the Punjab police also said that its “diligent officials” were performing security duties for Friday prayers at mosques across the province.
Meanwhile, the Karachi police said that Additional Inspector General Khadim Husain Rind had directed the police to remain “completely on high alert” in view of the Mastung blast.
He directed the policemen to tighten security arrangements regarding Eid-i-Milad un Nabi processions and Friday prayers across the city, as well as to monitor any unusual activities.
This is the second major blast that has terrorised Mastung over the last 15 days.
Earlier this month, at least 11 people were injured in a blast in the same district.