The first suicide bomb blast occurred near the Madina Masjid in Mastung district, as people gathered for a religious procession to mark Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Prophet Muhammad's birthday.
The exact number of casualties is still not available, but the number was confirmed to Dawn news by District Health Officer Abdul Razzaq Shahi. Mastung's Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Nawaz Gashkori, who was on duty for the rally, is among those deceased. Reportedly, the suicide bomber exploded himself next to DSP's car, said the City Station House officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri.
Not an isolated case
In the explosion that has gripped the local populace in fear, this is the second major blast in Mastung over the last 15 days. The previous blast took place on September 14 wherein at least 11 people were left injured, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdulla. So far, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Furthermore, armed militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) denies being behind both blasts.
The local authorities pressed into action after the incident, with critically injured being transferred to Quetta and emergency imposed in all the hospitals. Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said that the, "enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan."
Chief Minister Domki condemned the act in harsh words and said that Islam is a religion of peace and those who commit such heinous crimes against humanity cannot be called Muslims. Three days of mourning have been announced throughout the province. Punjab Police officials, in the meanwhile, performed security duties for Friday prayers while the Karachi police issues a, "high alert" to its police teams. AlJazeera quotes Amir Rana, director of the Islamabad-based research organization Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, as saying that the two explosions appear to be the work of ISIL (ISIS).
Pakistan—a haven for terrorists?
Given the recent cases of blasts in the region, it appears that Mastung remains a target of terror attacks, with the one in July 2018 being one of the deadliest in the district's history. The blast left at least 128 people dead, with The Tehrik-i-Taliban said to be behind the attack, as it called off a ceasefire with the government. In January of this year, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a mosque packed with worshippers during afternoon prayers in the Peshawar district which took over a 100 lives.