QUETTA: At least three people, including a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), were killed and more than a dozen others injured in an explosion that rocked Chaman in Balochistan’s Qilla Abdullah district on Saturday.
According to police, the bomb was an improvised explosive device (IED) which was planted in a motorcycle parked on the roadside.
The explosion initially left Maulana Muhammad Hanif, a central leader of the JUI-F, critically injured. He was being shifted to Quetta when he succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital. Police said Hanif was the target of the attack.
The blast occurred on Taj Road in Chaman, which is located just kilometres away from the country’s border with Afghanistan, and shattered windows in nearby buildings.
The dead include a 12-year-old child.
Chaman is considered a sensitive town in Balochistan as it shares a border with Afghanistan’s volatile Kandahar province.
JUI-F leaders have been targeted in attacks in Balochistan in the past as well. In May 2017, JUI-F leader and former Senate deputy chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri had suffered injuries in a suicide attack on his convoy in the Mastung area. At least 28 people were killed in the attack and 39 others were injured.
In 2014, the party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had survived a suicide attack in Quetta when he was returning after addressing a public meeting at Sadiq Shaheed Ground.
VIOLENCE IN BALOCHISTAN:
Balochistan —long been plagued by an insurgency and targetted killings – is reeling under a fresh wave of terrorism, as Baloch insurgents and other religious outfits have ratcheted up attacks in the restive province, targetting LEAs and minority Shias, respectively.
In May alone, the province faced at least six terror attacks, including an attack on non-native labourers working in Dera Murad Jamali.
On May 24, at least three people were killed and over a dozen injured when a mosque was targetted in Quetta’s Pashtoonabad area.
On May 14, three labourers, reportedly from Sindh province, were killed in a targeted attack. No one claimed responsibility for the attacked.
On May 13, at least four policemen were killed and several others wounded after a bomb attack targeted their vehicles while they stood guard outside a mosque in Quetta.
On May 11, militants belonging to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) stormed a five-star hotel in Gwadar, leaving five people, including a navy soldier, dead. The operation to clear the hotel took one day. The attack was targeted at Chinese investors allegedly present at the hotel.
On May 10, two miners and three Frontier Corps personnel were killed in an attack and a subsequent landmine blast in the Khost area of Harnai district.
On May 9 –the same day a blast had rocked Lahore— three people, including a tribal elder, were killed in Qila Abdullah blast.
In April, the province fared no better either, with two major blasts targeting law enforcers and minority Hazara community separately.
On April 12, at least 20 people were killed and 48 wounded by a powerful suicide blast apparently targeting the Hazara community at a crowded fruit market in Quetta.
A faction of the Taliban claimed the attack. The group said it collaborated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has been behind numerous bloody attacks in Pakistan. There was no immediate confirmation from LeJ.
On the same day, two civilians were killed and 10 injured in the evening as an improvised explosive device (IED) had gone off when FC vehicle was passing through a market.
On April 18, at least 14 people were killed in an ambush on several buses travelling between Karachi and Gwadar in the remote Ormara area of Balochistan province on Thursday.
The attack which left at least 9 Pakistan Navy men dead after being identified through IDs was claimed by Baloch insurgents.