At least 30 persons were killed and several injured on Wednesday after a suicide bomber detonated himself near a polling station in Balochistan as millions of voters queued up across Pakistan to elect a new government.
The attack targeted the convoy of Deputy Inspector General Abdul Razzaq Cheema near the polling station on the Eastern Bypass. The senior police official remained unhurt, however, SHO Bhosa Mandi succumbed to his injuries.
Civil Hospital Quetta officials confirmed the number of deaths.
The area was crowded as people were making their way to vote at Tameer-e-Nau Model School. Polling has come to a halt at the polling station after the blast.
The frontrunners to become prime minister after today’s election have condemned the bomb blast in Quetta. Imran Khan called it a “terrorist attack” by Pakistan’s enemies “seeking to disrupt our democratic process”.
He tweeted, ‘Condemnable terrorist attack in Quetta by enemies of Pak seeking to disrupt our democratic process. Saddened by the loss of innocent lives. Pakistanis must defeat the terrorists’ design by coming out in strength to cast their vote.’
His chief opponent, Shehbaz Sharif, said he was “heartbroken” to hear about the attack and said that police officials were among those killed. He also condemned the incident as a “terrorist attack” and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
He Tweeted, ‘Heart broken to learn of martyrdom of innocent people including police officials & injuries sustained by others in a terrorist attack in Quetta at a time when the people are exercising their democratic right of vote. My profound condolences to the bereaved families.’
Over the course of the day, Pakistan’s 106 million registered voters will have the chance to choose new provincial assemblies, a new parliament, and potentially a new prime minister.
Violent attacks have already occurred across the country in the first few hours of voting. >