MASTUNG, PAKISTAN – A religious event commemorating the birth of Prophet Mohammad in Pakistan took a tragic turn on Friday when a suicide bomber detonated a powerful device near a mosque. The blast resulted in at least 52 fatalities and approximately 70 injuries, primarily targeting worshippers and law enforcement officers. A separate attack on another mosque elsewhere in the country claimed at least five more lives.
The explosion occurred in the Mastung district of Baluchistan province in southwest Pakistan, an area that has been plagued by a nationalist rebellion for decades and has seen numerous attacks by the ISIS faction. The bomber struck as worshippers were leaving the mosque after the procession. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the Pakistani Taliban, a conglomerate of religious extremist sub-groups distinct from the Afghan Taliban but closely allied with them, has denied involvement.
ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, a branch of the terror group that operates in Pakistan and Afghanistan, is also active in the province and has claimed responsibility for previous deadly attacks in Baluchistan and other regions. Baluch nationalists, who have been fighting for independence in the oil-rich province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, typically target security officials rather than civilians.
Footage aired by Pakistani TV stations and shared on social media depicted the gruesome aftermath of the explosion, with victims and body parts scattered across the blast site. Dr. Saeed Mirwani, chief executive of the local Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Memorial Hospital, reported that dozens of casualties were being treated at the facility, while over 20 severely injured victims were transferred to the provincial capital of Quetta for advanced treatment.
In the wake of the Baluchistan suicide bombing, another explosion occurred at a mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, also bordering Afghanistan, killing at least five people and burying 30 to 40 people under rubble. Feroze Jamal, interim information minister for the provincial government, revealed that two suicide bombers were involved in the attack.
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi condemned both attacks and urged authorities to provide all possible assistance to the wounded and the victims’ families. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called for those responsible for the attack to be brought to justice, while also expressing concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Baluchistan.