Over 150 people were killed in terror attacks in Pakistan just ten days before the July 25 elections and yet instead of protecting Pakistan’s citizens from the plague of terrorism, Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment used its resources and personnel to arrest and detain unarmed supporters of PML leader Nawaz Sharif! That Pakistan’s security establishment has its priorities wrong is evident from the fact even though 371,388 troops are on election duty, they appear more focused on restraining civilian moderate politicians than in foiling terror attacks.
On Friday July 14, over 130 people were killed and 150 plus injured in a suicide attack on an election rally in Mastung, Baluchistan. Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, candidate of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was among 128 people killed in a suicide attack on an election gathering just 60 km south-west of Quetta. Over 150 people were injured. Siraj Raisani was the younger brother of former chief minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani.
According to a story in Dawn, “The blast had occurred when Siraj Raisani accompanied by his son was coming back from a stadium after distributing prizes among the players of a football match. “The suicide bomber blew himself up when local leaders were speaking at the gathering,” said a survivor who had received injuries.“The suicide bomber went near the stage where Siraj Raisani and other leaders were sitting and detonated the explosive-laden jacket he was wearing,” he said.”
The terrorist group Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan’s ‘Ghazi force Lal Masjid’ wing claimed responsibility for the attack “in a Whatsapp message.” Just two weeks earlier, “rockets were fired at the houses of Zahoor Buledi, BAP candidate for a provincial assembly seat, in Buleda and NP candidate Khair Jan Baloch in Jhaoo.”
A stern statement issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed “serious concern over the emerging pattern of violence” before the upcoming elections.
The HRCP addressed its questions to the caretaker government stating: “The numbing scale of yesterday’s attack in Mastung – now the third time an election gathering or political candidate has been targeted in three days – means asking some hard questions, not only of the civilian government, but also its security apparatus. Despite the excessive presence of security forces in Balochistan, the capacity of militants to strike on this scale appears to be intact.”
HRCP also reiterated: “the need for – and the right of – political candidates to be provided adequate security on the campaign trail. Election gatherings must not become killing fields. HRCP expresses its deepest condolences with the families of all those killed in Mastung and Bannu.”