At least 45 people were killed and several dozen injured in an explosion on Friday September 29 against a Muslim procession in the province of Balochistan, southwest of Pakistan. Local authorities attributed the explosion to a suspected suicide attack.
According to the province’s interior minister Zubair Jamali, this attack made “ at least 45 dead »while district police official Shoaib Masood reported a death toll “at least 42 people (killed), and 65 injured”.
The explosion occurred near a mosque as people gathered for a procession to mark the anniversary of the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. This commemoration is accepted by the majority of Muslim currents, but some among them condemn it.
An explosion caused by “terrorist elements” according to Karachi
“A procession of hundreds of people left the Madina mosque and when it reached the Al Falah road, a suicide bomber targeted it”said Abdul Razzaq Sasoli, a local administration official.
In Karachi, the Pakistani Interior Ministry confirmed an explosion caused by “terrorist elements”. “The attack on innocent people who came to participate in the Mawlid festival procession is a heinous act”, the ministry said in a statement. Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai called for blood donations to treat the injured. He also decreed three days of mourning.
A precedent in 2016 which left 50 dead
Every year on this date, mosques and public buildings in Pakistan are illuminated as worshipers march in procession to mark the Prophet’s birthday. In April 2006, a suicide attack against a Sunni procession marking the same event left at least 50 people dead in the city of Karachi.
The attack was never claimed, but three men from the fundamentalist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were charged. Balochistan is home to several separatist groups.
The Pakistani Taliban said it was not involved in Friday’s attack. “The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has no connection with this attack, our position on bomb attacks in public places is unequivocal”the group said.