At least 52 people were killed and 50 injured in a suspected suicide blast in the Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, the local media reported. The blast took place near a mosque in Balochistan’s Mastung district where devotees had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad
A police officer is reportedly among those deceased.
Officials in Balochistan have declared a state of emergency, as Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti called the blast was a ‘very heinous act.’
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Footage from the scene in Mastung showed the injured being rescued by emergency responders and locals.
Some of the injured were in critical condition.
Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said rescue teams have been dispatched to Mastung. He added the critically injured persons are being transferred to Quetta and that an emergency has been imposed in all the hospitals.
‘The enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan with foreign blessings,’ Achakzai said. ‘The explosion is unbearable.’
He further said caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has directed authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast.
Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province and has seen conflicts involving armed fighters from the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic State (IS) groups
TTP have denied involvement in Friday’s blast, saying in a statement that such an attack was against its policies.
Earlier this month, at least eleven people including a prominent Muslim leader were injured in an explosion in the same district.
In July, more than 40 people were killed in a suicide bombing in north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at a religious political party’s gathering.
Another blast in Peshawar
A separate blast has taken place at a mosque near Peshawar City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The number of casualties at the mosque in Hangu near Peshawar is not yet known.
Local police say a number of people could be trapped under rubble, after the roof of the structure collapsed.
The mosque in Hangu is reported to be part of a police complex.
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