A suicide bomb attack at an election campaign rally has killed at least 128 people and injured 150 in south-western Pakistan on Friday. This is said to be the deadliest attack in the country since 2014. IS militants later claimed that the group carried out the attack. Friday's bombing was the deadliest attack in the last three years. This is the third incident of suicide bomb attack of election-related violence this week.
In the explosion, one candidate, Siraj Raisani, belongs to Balochistan Awami Party contesting for the Baluchistan provincial assembly was also killed. Baluchistan Home Minister Agha Omer Bangulzai claimed that the death toll had risen to 128.
Earlier, in another suicide bomb attack on Friday itself on an election rally in the northern town of Bannu killed four. This attack was against a campaign convoy of a candidate, Akram Khan Durrani, who represents the MMA party. Luckily, the candidate escaped unhurt. But no group has so far claimed the responsibility for this attack.
Generally, the suicide attacks are carried out by various militant groups to send a message against Pakistan general election which is scheduled to take place on 25 July. Islamist militants linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State have been operating in the province, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan.
These latest attacks may also trigger a new set of tensions ahead of the general election already marred by controversy. Significantly, the Friday’s attacks came in the aftermath of the conviction of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by an anti-corruption court.