QUETTA: Four people died and five others were wounded after a blast took place near Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) rally in Balochistan’s Sibi on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming February 8 polls.
Sibi Deputy Commissioner Khuda-e-Rahim confirmed that the explosion occurred as the former ruling party’s rally was passing through the city.
Civil Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Shahid said three injured people are in “critical condition”, noting that an emergency has been imposed in the facility following the incident.
Police have said that they are assessing the nature of the blast, which occurred at the city’s Jinnah Road.
The deadly explosion comes just eight days before the February 8 general elections, with security heightened across the country and law enforcers deployed to ensure the law and order situation.
PTI Balochistan’s spokesperson Nazeer Achakzai has also confirmed the death of three party workers in the blast that targeted the rally being held by one of its candidates.
Reacting to the incident, caretaker Balochistan Minister for Information Jan Achakzai expressed condolences to the victims’ families.
The minister underscored that the upcoming polls would proceed as per the schedule, adding that the attack was aimed at discouraging the provincial government from holding the elections.
Separately, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), taking notice of the incident, has sought a report from the provincial police chief.
The attack comes in the backdrop of increased terrorist attacks that have plagued Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in recent months.
With more than 128 million voters, various circles have raised concerns over the deteriorating security situation in the country, especially in the aforementioned provinces, with some lawmakers even moving the Senate seeking poll delay in light of security threats.
Today’s blast comes after security forces eliminated six terrorists, including Doda Baloch and Pardan Baloch, in Balochistan’s Mach area hours after the city was attacked by terrorists in the late hours of Monday.
Militants belonging to the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) opened fire and launched 15 rockets towards the city, of which two fell onto Mach Jail Colony, one landed in the Levies police station, four rained into the FC headquarters and eight rockets landed in the city and surrounding areas.__The News