- Suicide bomber targets senior police official’s convoy near polling station in Quetta, officer remains safe
QUETTA: At least 31 people, including a policeman and two children, embraced martyrdom while several were injured in a suicide bombing targeting Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzak Cheema’s convoy near a polling station in Quetta on Wednesday.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) confirmed that investigation officer Riaz Notkani was martyred in the Quetta attack while Station House Officer (SHO) Muhammad Hameed received serious injuries.
However, DIG Razzak is reported to be safe in the attack claimed by the ultraviolent terror outfit, Islamic State, also known as Daesh, that injured 35 people in total.
The notorious outfit claimed the responsibility for the explosion through its outlet Amaq news agency. The group said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber but did not provide further detail or evidence for its claim.
According to rescue sources, the suicide bomber wanted to enter the polling station; however, he blew himself up after the police and FC personnel stopped him from entering the station. Following the attack, the polling stopped for a while and it was resumed briefly. The number of voters remains low, the presiding officer said.
Balochistan Chief Minister Alauddin Marri summoned a report on the matter and instructed authorities to provide quality medical facilities to the injured. He also directed security agencies to beef up security in the province.
The attack came after a bloody election campaign which had claimed the lives of at least 170 people, including three aspiring MPs, in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On July 13, a suicide bomber, carrying at least 15 kg of explosives, struck a Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) election rally in Mastung, martyring PB-35 candidate Siraj Raisani and at least 150 others. This attack was also carried by the IS.
Similarly, an Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroon Bilour and 19 others were martyred on July 10, while a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) nominee Ikramullah Gandapur and his driver were martyred in an attack on his vehicle. Both attacks were claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had warned of terror attacks across the country ahead of the polls and asked the authorities concerned for stringent measures for the protection of the electoral candidates. However, the law enforcement authorities (LEAs) remained failed to tackle the terror threats as till the election day, terror outfits were able to strike.
The politicians facing security threats included the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief ministers Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Akram Durrani and ANP’s Ameer Haider Hoti.
During the run-up to elections, Durrani was targetted twice, but he, fortunately, escaped the assassination bids; however, at least four people died in the two attacks. Besides four major suicide bombings, a number of firing and hand grenade incident injured a number of people countrywide.