Toll from suicide blast rose to 59, spokesperson of the Civil Hospital, Quetta, said, as 7 more succumbed to injuries

QUETTA/RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir has said that terrorists and their facilitators, having no link with religion and ideology, are proxies of the enemies of Pakistan and its people. Also, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the state will go after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Daesh to eliminate their dens.

On Friday, the country was rocked by two suicide blasts in the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which caused several dozen casualties and left many others injured.

The death toll from the suicide blast in Balochistan’s Mastung district has risen to 59, a spokesperson of the Civil Hospital, Quetta, said Saturday, as seven more succumbed to their injuries.

In a statement, the spokesperson said 52 deaths were recorded in the Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Memorial Hospital, six in the Civil Hospital and one in the BMC Complex.

A suicide bomber Friday targeted people gearing up for a procession related to Eid Miladun Nabi near a mosque in the Mastung district. At least 52 people were killed initially, according to district health official Abdul Rasheed, including children aged nine to 11. At least 58 people were injured.

Hours after the blast in Balochistan, a second attack took place at a mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hangu city and claimed the lives of five people — including a policeman — and injured 12.

The incident took place within the boundary of Police Station Doaba during the Friday sermon. General Asim Munir visited Quetta on Saturday and was briefed on recent terrorist attacks in Mastung and Zhob.

The briefing was also attended by caretaker federal minister of interior, Balochistan chief minister and key provincial ministers along with senior civil and military officials. The participants offered Fateha for the Shuhada of Mastung, Hangu and Zhob incidents.

General Asim Munir paid rich tributes to the Shuhada and remarked that such incidents of terrorism on 12 Rabi al-Awwal depict the ill intent of the Khawarij, who have the backing of state sponsors of terrorism.

“These forces of evil will continue to face full might of the state and security forces backed by a resilient nation,” the COAS maintained while attending the briefing, adding that the operation against terrorists would continue unabated and the armed forces, intelligence and law enforcement agencies will not rest till the menace of terrorism is rooted out from the country.

The COAS emphasised that the people of Pakistan have rejected terrorists’ pseudo ideology and propaganda of their backers and they are fully committed to peace, economic progress and human development, which indeed is causing a lot of distress to forces of evil in and outside of Pakistan.

The COAS visited CMH, Quetta, where he met the injured and families of Mastung incident, who are being provided full medical care by the Pakistan Army. He also lauded the bravery and resilience of Balochistan Police and law enforcement personnel.

General Asim Munir assured full cooperation and support to the families of Shuhada and promised that terrorists, their abettors and facilitators will not be spared.

Earlier on arrival, the COAS was received by interim Balochistan CM and Commander Balochistan Corps.

Later, addressing a press conference in Quetta, the caretaker interior minister said the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), is involved in carrying out terror incidents in Pakistan.

Bugti vowed to establish the writ of the state at all costs. He said the authorities knew who was involved in these activities and would avenge every drop of blood of Pakistanis. “Whether it is Daesh or TTP or anyone else, anyone committing violence under any banner will be dealt with,” the minister said after attending a security meeting.

“All major incidents that occurred in Balochistan were not without RAW’s involvement along with the forces that seek to destabilise Pakistan,” he continued. “We will go after the terrorists and eliminate all their dens… We know who is handling all these terrorists,” he said. “We have decided that there will be zero tolerance for these terrorists.” The minister also pledged to utilise all resources to eliminate terrorism, stressing that there’s no place for militants and their facilitators in the country. The international community, including the United States, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Mastung and Hangu, extending condolences to families of victims of the blasts. In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller shared Washington’s condemnation of the “suicide attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that killed and injured worshippers and others.”

In a separate post on X, US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome, too, extended his support for Pakistan on behalf of the US, adding that the nation’s hearts go out to the victims and families. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attacks, reaffirming the kingdom’s firm position calling for rejection of violence and terrorism wherever it occurs.

Saudi Arabia extended full solidarity with assurance to stand by Pakistan and its brotherly people in this momentous event. The United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a statement condemning the attacks, wrote: “The UAE expresses its strong condemnation of these criminal acts, and its permanent rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles.”

Besides, Iraq, Algeria, France, Türkiye and Egypt also condemned the terrorist attacks. In their separate statements, they expressed condolences over the loss of precious human lives and offered solidarity to the government and people of Pakistan.

The countries also renewed their firm stance against all forms of violence, terrorism and intimidation of citizens, praying for the early and speedy recovery of the injured.

Earlier, in a separate incident, security forces thwarted an attempt of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan terrorists to infiltrate from Afghanistan into Pakistan, the military’s media wing said.

The incident took place on September 28 at 5:45pm, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement, as law enforcers ramp up efforts against terrorists having safe havens in Afghanistan.

As a result of the standoff, four soldiers — Havaldar Sattar, Lance Naik Sher Azam, Lance Naik Adnan, and Sepoy Nadeem — embraced martyrdom after having fought valiantly. The soldiers also sent three terrorists “to hell”, the ISPR said, noting that “few” other militants were also injured during the gunbattle.

Later, Havaldar Abdul Sattar Shaheed, r/o Dera Ghazi Khan, Lance Naek Muhammad Adnan Shaheed, r/o Tank, Lance Naek Azam Khan Shaheed, r/o Lakki Marwat, Sepoy Nadeem Khan Shaheed, r/o Kohat, and Lance Naek Ghairat Gul Shaheed, r/o Kurram, who were martyred in exchange of fire with terrorists in Zhob and Parachinar, were laid to rest in their native towns. The Namaz-e-Janaza of Shaheed soldiers was attended by civil and military officials, relatives and people from different walks of life. “Security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve,” the ISPR in a statement said.

Meanwhile, the interior minister said the authorities had recovered four footballers from Dera Bugti and the remaining would be recovered soon. Six footballers, while on their way to Sibi, were abducted from Balochistan’s Jani Bair area of Dera Bugti earlier this month on September 9.

 

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