The government of Balochistan imposed a ban on Sunday on public meetings and electoral gatherings in Quetta citing security threats.
Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai took to social media platform X to announce the ban and elaborated that the step has been taken in “response to a terror alert”, indicating the presence of a suspected female suicide bomber in Quetta.
Achakzai emphasised the necessity of imposing restrictions on public gatherings and electoral meetings. He urged all political parties and candidates to conduct their meetings indoors.
While recognising the importance of the electoral campaign, the Balochistan government underscored that public safety must be prioritised
Election violence mars Balochistan, K-P
As the nation braces for polls on Feb 8, a concerning surge in violence marked by several acts of terrorism has unfolded in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Prominent political figures have also been issued threats. The law enforcement agencies are grappling with the formidable challenge of upholding peace and stability in the region.
On Thursday, one person was killed and five others injured in three separate attacks in Balochistan.
In the first incident of violence, an individual lost his life and another sustained injuries as a blast occurred on Sabzal Road in Quetta.
According to police, unidentified miscreants had planted an improvised explosive device on the roadside, resulting in a powerful explosion that claimed the life of a person on the spot.
Meanwhile, in two separate incidents of violence in the province, four people sustained injuries in two separate hand-grenade attacks in Jaffarabad and Turbat cities.
The first grenade attack occurred in the Ghulam Nabi Chowk area of Turbat, leaving a person injured whereas the other took place on the national highway in Dera Allah Yar, Jaffarabad district, leaving three people injured.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) while expressing deep concern over the terror attacks sought an immediate report from the Balochistan chief secretary and inspector general.
In another episode of violence, unidentified assailants hurled a hand grenade at the office of Mir Nooruddin Nowsherwani, the PPP candidate in Kharan. However, no loss of life was reported.
Similarly, miscreants threw a hand grenade at the office of PML-N on Qambrani Road, Quetta. No casualty was reported
According to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), 15 political figures in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa received threats from extremists in connection with the upcoming general elections.
Releasing a list of such individuals, the CTD maintained that threats had been issued to former National Assembly member Mohsin Dawar, ex-provincial minister Imtiaz Qureshi, Senator Hidayatullah, PML-N’s former MNA Amir Muqam, PTI leaders Pir Musawir Shah and Shah Muhammad, JUI-F’s Malik Adnan Wazir and Ehsanullah.
Senators Bakhti Afsar and Maulana Abdur Rasheed are also threatened by extremists.
The CTD stated that the police officials of concerned districts have been informed about the threats, and directed for additional security of the listed politicians.
Meanwhile, sit-in and protest against the killing of National Assembly candidate Rehan Zeb continued in Khar Bazaar, Bajaur.
Zeb was shot dead on Wednesday by unidentified assailants while campaigning in Bajaur district’s Sadiqabad Phattak Bazar.
Similarly, unknown miscreants lobbed a hand grenade at the election office of the PPP on Sariab Road in Quetta, injuring five people. According to police, Ali Madad Jatak, the PPP candidate for the provincial assembly seat in Quetta, was not present at the office at the time of the attack.
Miscreants also threw a hand grenade at the residence of Mir Zahoor Buledi, the PPP’s candidate for a provincial assembly seat in district Kech.
On Tuesday, a bomb blast on a main road in Balochistan’s Sibi during an election rally led by Saddam Tareen – a PTI-affiliated independent candidate for the NA-253 (Ziarat) constituency – left at least four people dead and five others injured.
An ANP activist, identified as Zahoor Ahmed, was killed and another injured when armed men opened fire in the Maizai Addah in Qilla Abdullah district.