A powerful bomb detonated near a mosque during a rally celebrating the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in Mastung, Baluchistan province, Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of at least 35 people and leaving nearly 70 others injured. The bombing occurred during a procession where hundreds of people had gathered to commemorate the birth anniversary of the prophet. The injured individuals were promptly transported to nearby hospitals, with some in critical condition.
Government administrator Atta Ullah reported that those injured in the blast were receiving medical treatment, while Abdul Rasheed, the District Health Officer in Mastung, confirmed that 30 bodies were taken to one hospital, and 22 others were counted at a second hospital. Among the deceased was senior police officer Mohammad Nawaz.
Authorities are currently investigating whether the bombing was a suicide attack. The Pakistani Taliban quickly distanced themselves from the incident, and no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing thus far. The Islamic State group has previously claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Baluchistan and other regions of Pakistan.
President Arif Alvi condemned the attack and urged authorities to provide all possible assistance to the wounded and the victims’ families. Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti denounced the bombing, expressing sorrow and grief over the loss of lives. The government had declared a national holiday for the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad, with President Alvi and caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul-haq-Kakar calling for unity and adherence to the teachings of Islam’s prophet.
In a separate incident, two soldiers were killed in a shootout with Pakistani Taliban militants who attempted to infiltrate the southwestern district of Zhob in Baluchistan province. The military confirmed that three militants were killed during the exchange.
Baluchistan province, located at the border of Afghanistan and Iran, has experienced a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for over two decades. Initially demanding a share of provincial resources, the nationalists later escalated their campaign, calling for independence.