Death Toll Rises to 52 in Blast at Pakistan Procession Marking Prophet’s Birthday

Last Updated on September 29, 2023 12:08 pm

Islamabad, Pakistan – September 29, 2023

The death toll from the devastating suspected suicide bomb blast during a procession to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has tragically increased to 52, according to official sources and media reports.

The powerful explosion occurred near a mosque in the Mastung district of Balochistan, leaving dozens wounded, many of whom are in critical condition, as reported by local officials.

Abdul Rasheed, a district health official, confirmed the grim toll, stating that 52 individuals had lost their lives in the blast, with 58 others suffering from injuries. Regrettably, the casualty count may rise further as numerous individuals remain in serious condition.

The attack, described as a “terrorist act” by Pakistan’s interior ministry, appeared to be a suicide attack, with the perpetrator detonating explosives near the vehicle of Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Gishkori.

Among the victims was a senior police officer, Mohammad Nawaz, according to Balochistan’s government administrator, Atta Ullah. The wounded were swiftly transported to nearby hospitals for medical treatment.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at this time. The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), distanced itself from the incident. However, security experts are closely examining the presence of Islamic State (ISIS) elements in the region.

The bombing occurred just days after authorities had placed the police on high alert, as they feared that armed groups might target gatherings associated with the celebration. Eid Milad-un-Nabi, the Prophet’s birthday, is widely observed by Muslims in Pakistan and across the world through public gatherings.

While this celebration is embraced by the majority of Islamic sects, some denominations view it as an unnecessary innovation.

Notably, Pakistan has experienced attacks by armed groups in the past. Earlier this month, an explosion in the same district of Balochistan injured at least 11 people, including a prominent religious leader. In July, a suicide bombing at a religious political party’s gathering in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province claimed the lives of over 40 people.

Balochistan, a resource-rich province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, has witnessed a long-standing low-intensity rebellion led by Baloch separatists for more than two decades. Initially demanding a share of provincial resources, the separatists later shifted their focus to advocating for independence.

This tragic incident has once again highlighted the ongoing security challenges faced by Pakistan and the urgent need for enhanced measures to ensure public safety during religious and cultural gatherings.

Source: Al Jazeera and News Agencies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *