As authorities in Pakistan scrambled to keep peace ahead of next week’s general elections, the country’s restive Balochistan province was rattled with at least 10 bomb and grenade attacks on Thursday, resulting in the death of one person.
Several police stations and deputy commissioners’ offices were targeted in the attacks in which six persons, including a police officer and a jail warden, were injured, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Pakistan will go to polls on February 8.
“At least 10 bomb and grenade attacks happened across Balochistan, including provincial capital Quetta,” the senior official told the paper.
A bomb, placed along a footpath on the China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation (CPEC) road in the Spinny area of Quetta, went off, killing a passerby, according to Quetta SSP (operations) Jawad Tariq.
The intensity of the blast rocked several areas of the provincial capital, according to officials. The police cordoned off the area and shifted the body to Civil Hospital.
Hospital officials said the victim’s body was mutilated due to his proximity to the bomb at the time of the blast.
The deceased was identified as an 84-year-old man.
SSP Tariq added that around 8kg of explosive was used in the improvised explosive device.
The target of the bomb was unknown as there was no election campaign-related event scheduled within the vicinity, the SSP said, adding that security was already on high alert due to the upcoming elections.
In another attack near Quetta’s outskirts, an assistant sub-inspector Ghulam Raza, was injured.
Unknown attackers hurled a hand grenade at the Shalkot police station, which exploded in the courtyard.
The attack damaged the station’s building and some vehicles in the parking area. The injured police officer was admitted to the Civil Hospital.
In Mastung, the central prison was attacked by hand grenades, which exploded inside the jail, resulting in damage to the building. The jail warden was injured in the attack.
In the attacks in Quetta, Khuzdar and Turbat, the offices of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and National Party, and a joint office of Balochistan National Party Mengal (BNP-M) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) were targeted with grenades. However, no loss of life was reported.
The offices of deputy commissioners in Dhadar and Panjgur were also targeted with hand grenades.
One person was injured in another grenade attack on the house of the Kachhi deputy commissioner.
In a blast in the Turbat market area, one person was injured while a grenade was also lobbed at police and Frontier Corps (FC) posts, but no casualty was reported, according to the Dawn report.
The attacks came as the Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday held a high-level meeting to discuss the security situation in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The chief election commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja told the meeting that polls would be held on time.
“The Feb 8 election will be held on time. Despite security challenges, the ECP is fully prepared,” Raja said addressing the meeting, adding that those trying to create disturbance would be tackled with the help of law enforcement agencies, including the army. “In this regard, no leniency will be shown to anyone,” he said.
Raja expressed concern at the fragile law and order in the two provinces, especially at the attacks on the office of the ECP and political parties. However, he announced that the electoral process would not be affected by these attacks. (Agencies)