At least 52 people were killed and more than 50 injured on Friday in a suicide attack on a religious gathering to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, which comes amid a surge in attacks claimed by militant groups in the west of Pakistan, raising the stakes for security forces ahead of national elections scheduled for January 2024.
“The bomber detonated himself near the vehicle of the Deputy Superintendent of Police,” Deputy Inspector-General of Police Munir Ahmed told Reuters.
He said the blast took place near a mosque where people were gathering for a procession to mark the Prophet’s birthday, which is a public holiday.
The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of various hardline Sunni Islamist groups, denied it carried out the attack.
The casualties were being treated at hospitals in the nearby town of Mastung.
Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti called the blast a “very heinous act”.