Pakistan Police on Friday said Sirajul Haq, chief of Islamist political party- Jamaat-i-Islami- narrowly escaped a “suicide attack” that targeted his convoy in restive Balochistan province. At least six people were injured in the attack. Jamaat-i-Islami chief Haq’s vehicle was partly damaged in the attack while he remained unhurt, Zhob city police station Station House Officer (SHO) Sher Ali Mandokhail told Dawn.com.
All of the injured were being treated at Civil Hospital, Zhob and one of them was in critical condition, he said.
He said that a body found at the site of the blast was of the suicide attacker. In a tweet, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) also said that Haq — who was visiting the area to address a political gathering — was safe and that the attacker had been killed.
“JI emir Siraj reached Quetta today and had to go further to Zhob where he had a political gathering today. When he was entering Zhob and people were welcoming him, a person came and blew himself up,” party spokesperson Qaisar Sharif said in a video message.
“Everybody was safe in the suicide attack and there was no loss of lives. According to initial information, only some cars have been damaged and a few people have sustained injuries.” “The JI leadership is safe,” he added.
According to SHO Mandokhail, Haq insisted on going to the venue of his political gathering after the blast. “He was given a clearance after additional police and law enforcement personnel were deployed.”
The official said Zhob Assistant Commissioner Hafiz Tariq had been assigned the JI’s security.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif “strongly” condemned the suicide attack, saying he had directed the Balochistan government to investigate the attack from all angles and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo expressed grief over the suicide blast.
“It is deeply regrettable that five people were injured in the incident,” he said.
He said terrorists wanted to achieve their evil goals by spreading fear and insecurity in the province, adding that militants and their patrons will not be allowed to succeed.
Resource-rich Balochistan in southwestern Pakistan borders Afghanistan and Iran, But it is also Pakistan’s largest and poorest province, rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.
Baloch nationalists are active in the Balochistan province and often target the security forces and people from other provinces, especially Punjab.
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