Pakistan election: 29 killed, 40 injured after 2 terrorist attacks hit Balochistan, a day before polls
The victims included six security personnel who were guarding the premises.
A second bombing in the nearby town of Qila Saifullah about an hour-and-a-half later targeted the campaign office of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), an orthodox Sunni Muslim religious party, claiming 12 more lives and wounding 10 people.
“This was expected,” Basit said, due to the resurgence of cross-border terrorist attacks following the Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan in August 2021.
The Taliban and Isis-K have been engaged in a deadly “sectarian rivalry” since the latter established a foothold in Afghanistan in 2015, Basit observed.
But the JUI-F has also been targeted by Isis-K because it has long been an influential player in Pakistani national politics, he said.
It is contesting the general election in alliance with the front-running Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party of Nawaz Sharif, who is attempting to become prime minister for an unprecedented fourth time.
So the JUI-F is being targeted by Isis-K “both because of its democratic role and their sectarian rivalry”, Basit said.
Isis-K’s animosity towards the JUI-F turned into a blood feud after armed party activists, who were members of tribal “peace committee” militias backed by Pakistan’s security forces, hunted down, tortured and killed Isis-K terrorists who had infiltrated into the northern Pakistan district of Bajaur from Afghanistan in early 2023.
Pakistan’s history of jailed leaders
Isis-K retaliated by launching a suicide bombing attack on a JUI-F party convention in Bajaur last July, killing 44 delegates.
Basit largely discounted the likelihood of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) insurgents being involved in today’s attacks, as its ongoing campaign is focused on targeting