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Nine killed in KP, Balochistan election violence

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 QUETTA: People run out of a polling station after a hand grenade attack in the vicinity of Sariab area, on Thursday.—AFP
QUETTA: People run out of a polling station after a hand grenade attack in the vicinity of Sariab area, on Thursday.—AFP

D.I. KHAN / PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD / QUETTA / GWADAR: At least nine people were killed and more than a dozen others injured in almost two dozen incidents of violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan district and multiple districts of Balochistan on Thursday.

Five police personnel were martyred and two others sustained injuries when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off within the jurisdiction of Kulachi police station in Dera Ismail Khan.

Officials said that a police vehicle was pat­ro­lling the Gara Aslam area of Kulachi for election security when the explosive device went off. “Besides the IED, militants fired at the vehicle,” a police official said, adding the militants escaped when an additional contingent of police reached the site.

Officials also informed that the area was immediately cordoned off following the incident and a search operation was launched. The martyred and injured were shifted to the district headquarters hospital.

According to Farrukh Jamil at the DHQ, the martyred personnel included Sulman Yousaf, Sabir, Israr Ahmad, Ali Muhammad and Driver Zeeshan. The injured were identified as Jan Dost and Mushtaq.

Polling stations in Gwadar, Kech and Panjgur come under grenade, rocket attacks; five cops lose their lives in D.I. Khan IED blast; Khanozai assault toll rises to 30

Meanwhile, Tank police have recovered bodies of three alleged militants believed to be involved in attacks on police and security forces.

Apart from the militant attack in Dera Ismail Khan and the recovery of the militants’ dead bodies, polls in the central, southern and northern districts largely remained peaceful with tightened security arrangements in and outside the polling stations.

Over 20 incidents of violence in Balochistan

In Balochistan, more than two dozen explosions and rocket attacks were reported across the province outside the polling stations, killing four people, including two security personnel and injuring over a dozen.

The grenade attacks and bomb explosions started after people started to arrive at the polling stations to cast their votes in Kech and Gwadar districts of Makran.

A vehicle carrying levies personnel for the security duty for election in the Lejah area of Kharan was also targeted in a blast, killing two levies personnel. Five others were injured, who were immediately shifted to a hospital.

Officials said that the armed men targeted various buildings, including boys and girls schools which were being used as polling stations.

“At least 22 explosions took place in different areas of Kech, Panjgur and Gwadar districts during the polling,” Saeed Ahmed Umrani, the Makran commissioner told Dawn.

Unknown armed men attacked sixteen places in the port city of Gwadar lobbing grenades targeting polling stations. No casualty was reported in these attacks.

‘Most of the grenade attacks were carried in far-flung areas of the coastal town and at a distance of almost 100 meters from the polling stations,’ SSP Gwadar Zohaib Mohsin told Dawn.

He said due to strict security, no attack took place in the Gwadar town and polling continued throughout the day.

On the outskirts of Gwadar, however, an improvised explosive device was detonated close to the official vehicle of Assistant Commissioner Naveed Alam. As a result of the explosion, two security guards were injured.

One dead in Panjgur

Officials said that a child was killed and four others injured in Panjgur town when unknown people fired rockets at a polling station set up inside the Government Boys High School. As a result, 10-year-old Amir Hassan was killed and another man was injured.

One person was killed and three others injured in an armed clash between workers of the PTI and PML-N in the Sanjavi area, causing the suspension of polling for some time. Three persons, including the brother of a candidate, were injured when their jeep collided with a landmine in the Mawind area of Kohlu district.

Similarly, three explosions occurred in Quetta during the polling. Fortunately, no casualty was reported in these explosions, which occurr­­ed in the areas along the Sariab and Brewery roads in the provincial capital.

Khanozai death toll rises to 30

Meanwhile, the death toll in two bomb explosions in Khanozai and Qila Saifullah reached 30 as two more seriously injured succumbed to their wounds in the hospital, on Thursday.

On the other hand, the Islamic State (Wilayah Pakistan) has claimed responsibility for targeting the election office of an independent candidate in Khanozai. A spokesman for the IS said this in a message issued late on Wednesday night.

Talking to Dawn, Balochistan Minister for Information Jan Achakzai said: “As many as 30 people have lost their lives so far, including 18 of Khanozai and 12 of Qila Saifullah.”

Also on Thursday, the victims of the two motorbike blast were buried in the graveyards in their native villages and towns after identification.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2024

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