Peshawar [Pakistan], Jul 14 (ANI): The death toll in Friday's suicide blast in Mastung touched 130, making it one of the single largest terror attacks in the history of Pakistan.
The Ministry of Interior in a press release issued on Saturday announced July 15 as a day of mourning in memory of those killed in the twin blasts in Mastung and Bannu, according to a report of The Express Tribune. The newspaper reported Mastung death toll as 130.
In December 2014, at least 150 people, mostly students, were killed when six gunmen affiliated to the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar.
The Mastung blast targeted the convoy of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani who died in the attack. As per media reports, the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the background of the high toll in the blast, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto on Saturday suspended the party's political rallies.
Addressing a press conference here, Bilawal said that the party cancelled a road show that was supposed to be held in Malakand and lead a rally from Sakhakot to Batkhela and address a public meeting at Zafar Park in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, The Dawn reported.
However, owing to the string of suicide attacks in both KP and Balochistan provinces earlier this week, which has killed over 150 people, the KP district administration did not allow the PPP to campaign in the province and advised Bilawal to stay within the cantonment area limits.
The Dawn quoted Bilawal saying, "Several people are dead in Balochistan, each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that."
Condemning the deadly bombing, Bilawal earlier in the day wrote on Twitter: "Devastated by continued attacks on innocent Pakistanis. Loss of shaheed Siraj Raisani & 120 innocent people in Mastung cannot be in vain; must ensure this mindset is defeated. Have suspended my political activities in solidarity."
Devastated by continued attacks on innocent Pakistanis. loss of shaheed Siraj Raisani & 120 innocent people in Mastung cannot be in vain must insure this mindset is defeated. Have suspended my political activities in solidarity.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) July 14, 2018
Lamenting on the recent election-related suicide attacks in the country, Bilawal said that extremism and terrorism were beginning to appear again, adding that inadequate actions were being taken to tackle terrorism.
He implied that there were several security threats facing candidates ahead of the general elections in Pakistan on July 25.
Striking an emotional note, Bilawal said that the people of Pakistan are in a state of mourning. He added, "Extremism and terrorism are resurfacing. It is regrettable that a solution to these problems has not been found to date."
The Bhutto scion alleged that his PPP party workers were being pressurised to join "puppet parties" and urged his partymen not to swipe loyalties, The News International reported.
According to a Dawn report, Bilawal while complaining on not getting a level-field said: "Awami National Party (ANP) and BAP cannot engage freely in political activities. The PPP is not getting a level playing field either. Not only have we been impeded at various places but also my workers have been pressurised into switching loyalties."
Bilawal alleged that the results of the elections would be controversial as there was pre-poll rigging. He pointed out that his party was facing a lot of difficulties ever since he started campaigning in Sindh province. He claimed that his rallies were not being covered live by the media.
"This is pre-poll rigging and it would make the results of the elections controversial. But despite all this, we (PPP) are in the electoral race and will contest the polls," Bilawal said.
He is set to contest from the NA-200 seat from Larkana on July 25.
Meanwhile, the police have registered a first information report (FIR) against several political leaders including PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab caretaker chief minister Hasan Askari Rizvi and others like Javed Hashmi, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Afzal Tarrar, Zafarul Haq, Talal Chaudhry, etc for allegedly instigating party workers to commit violence during their rally in Lahore to welcome former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, ARY news reported.
Prior to Sharif's arrival, the police and PML-N workers clashed with each other. The workers have been charged for rioting, attempt to murder and vandalising public and private properties.
Separately, 20 FIRs have been registered against PML-N leaders for holding a political rally in Islamabad without permission and violating the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) code of conduct.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz into custody in connection to the Avenfield reference case after their flight landed at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport at 8:48 p.m. (local time) on Friday night.
Their passports were confiscated and subsequently boarded onto a small chartered plane bound for Islamabad International Airport (IIA), the Dawn reported.
The plane landed at Islamabad International Airport at around 10:35 pm (local time), following which the father-daughter duo were taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi in separate armoured personnel carriers escorted by police convoys, Geo TV reported.
On July 6, the father-daughter duo were convicted in absentia in the Avenfield reference case by the Accountability Court. While Sharif has been given 10 years of imprisonment and slapped with a fine of eight million pounds, Maryam was awarded eight years in jail and fined two million pounds.
The case pertains to the purchase of Avenfield apartments through offshore companies, the beneficial owner of which was Maryam.
The father-daughter duo was in London for a month to meet the former's ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment for cancer. (ANI)