QUETTA: The toll from the horrific Mastung suicide bombing reached 130 on Saturday as the province mourned the attack on a corner meeting of Balochistan Awami Party’s (BAP) Siraj Raisani who was also among those martyred in the militant Islamic State (IS) attack.
At least 20 of the injured are reported to be in critical condition among the scores who fell victim to the attack. Raisani was a candidate from PB-35 (Mastung) and his elder brother Nawab Aslam Raisani had served as the province’s chief minister from 2008 to 2013.
The Ministry of Interior also issued a press release whereby the federal government has announced July 15 as a day of mourning in the wake of tragic attacks in Bannu and Mastung.
On Sunday, the national flag shall be hoisted half mast.
Business activities remained suspended in various areas of the city as security has been put on high alert following the attack.
The national flags will remain at half-mast on all government buildings at the directions of the provincial government. A two-day mourning period was also announced for July 14 and 15 in the wake of the massacre.
Raisani was laid to rest in his ancestral area of Kanak in Mastung. The slain BAP leader’s funeral prayers took place at 4.30 pm on Saturday at Ayub stadium, Quetta.
The blast ripped through the corner meeting in Dringarh village of Mastung district, some 35km away from the provincial capital making it the deadliest in the country since the 2014 carnage at the Army Public School.
Provincial Information Minister Malik Khuram Shehzad confirmed the attack was a suicide blast and added that the bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where the political meeting was taking place.
“Siraj was attending the corner meeting in Dringarh, was about to step on to the stage to address party workers when the suicide bomber, disguised as a political worker blew himself up,” Mastung DC Qaim Lashari said.
Emergency workers shuttled victims to nearby vehicles from the bombed-out compound as bystanders sobbed in the darkness owing to the waning electricity in the impoverished area.
Victims in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and Quetta, where they were greeted by tense crowds of mourners.
The deceased could be seen covered in shrouds.
According to the bomb disposal squad, up to 15kg of explosive material was used causing a large number of victims as the corner meeting was packed with people.
The brazen attack has widely been condemned with President Mamnoon Hussain, caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Balochistan chief minister and others terming it a cowardly act.