Terrorism: At least 26 dead in pre-election attacks in Pakistan

Terrorism: At least 26 dead in pre-election attacks in Pakistan

Elections in Pakistan have often been the target of extremists in the past. Now there are devastating attacks again. The masterminds are still unknown.

A day before parliamentary elections in Pakistan, at least 26 people were killed in two attacks. Dozens of other people were injured in the attacks in the troubled province of Baluchistan, officials told the German Press Agency. The attacks targeted two campaign offices. In one of the attacks in the city of Pishin, a bomb attached to a motorcycle killed 14 people.

In a video on social media purporting to show one of the crime scenes after the explosion, lifeless bodies could be seen among an angry crowd. According to authorities, the two constituency candidates were not present at the time of the attacks. Initially, no group claimed responsibility for the attacks. Both the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS), the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and separatist groups are active in the province.

Around 600,000 security forces deployed for elections

On Thursday, the South Asian country with more than 240 million inhabitants will elect a new national assembly and provincial parliaments. The security situation in the nuclear power has been tense for months. According to Acting Interior Minister Gohar Ejaz, around 600,000 security forces will protect the elections.

Pakistan’s Islamist Taliban in particular have repeatedly carried out attacks on security forces in recent months, in which numerous civilians have also been killed. The group is independent of the Taliban ruling Afghanistan, but also aims to strictly enforce Islamic Sharia law. However, the TTP had recently announced that it did not want to disrupt the parliamentary election through attacks or attacks. At the same time, they emphasized their continued hostility towards the security authorities.

Security and the Internet

Due to the volatile security situation, Pakistan’s Information Ministry announced on Tuesday that it may throttle the Internet in some parts of the country on election day. The authorities justified the measure by saying that this should reduce the likelihood of attacks. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, called on the Pakistani government to ensure access to the internet.

Pakistan has been plagued by several simultaneous crises for years. The state is deeply in debt and inflation is causing increasing discontent among the population. Observers had repeatedly expressed concern about an unfair election. Former Prime Minister and cricket legend Imran Khan is imprisoned. Supporters of his opposition party PTI are only allowed to run as independent candidates. The favorite is the three-time prime minister and major industrialist Nawaz Sharif, who returned to Pakistan from exile in autumn 2023 and was acquitted of corruption charges.

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Source: Stern

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