Pakistan election: 26 killed in blasts near independent candidates’ offices on eve of polls
Two explosions near electoral candidates’ offices in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan killed 26 people and wounded dozens on Wednesday, officials said, raising concerns over security on the eve of a general election.
Pakistan goes to the polls amid rising militant attacks in recent months and the jailing of Imran Khan, the winner of the last national election, who has been dominating the headlines despite an economic crisis and other woes threatening the nuclear-armed country.
Authorities have said they are boosting security at polling booths.
The first attack, which killed 14 people, took place at the office of an independent election candidate in Pishin district.
The second explosion in Qilla Saifullah, near the Afghan border, detonated near an office of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), a religious party that has previously been the target of militant attacks, according to the province’s information minister.
The deputy commissioner of Qilla Saifullah, Yasir Bazai, said that 12 people were killed and 25 wounded by a device planted on motorcycle parked near the office.
It was not immediately clear who was behind Wednesday’s attack. Several groups, including the Islamist militant Pakistani Taliban and separatist groups from Balochistan, oppose the Pakistani state and have carried out attacks in recent months.
A TTP spokesman claimed an attack on Monday that killed 10 people at a police station in northwest Pakistan. The TTP has said it is targeting police and security officials rather than electoral candidates.
Khanzai hospital, close to the site of the explosion, gave the death toll as 12 and said more than two dozen were injured. Deputy Commissioner of Pishin district, Jumma Dad Khan, said that the blast had injured