US denounces deadly ‘attack on PTI rally’ in Sibi

State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs says attack “undermines electoral process”

Security personnel and people gather near the site of a bomb explosion in Sibi, Balochistan, January 30, 2024. — AFP
Security personnel and people gather near the site of a bomb explosion in Sibi, Balochistan, January 30, 2024. — AFP
  • Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs issues condemnation. 
  • State Dept offers its deepest sympathies to those affected.
  • “Pakistani people have the right to choose leader without fear”.

A day after a deadly blast ripped through Balochistan’s Sibi, the United States issued a condemnation of the attack that reportedly killed at least four people and injured several others.

The terrorist strike in the country’s restive province took place near a political rally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), sounding alarm over the country’s security situation ahead of the general elections — scheduled to be held on February 8.

The US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said the attack “undermines the electoral process”.

Though there were reports of four casualties in the blast, the State Department’s post on microblogging site X, stated that the explosion killed “10 people”.

“The US strongly condemns the attack on PTI party rally in Sibi killing 10 people, which undermines the electoral process. Pakistani people have the right to choose their leader without fear for the country’s stability and prosperity. Our deepest sympathies to those affected,” the tweet read.

The deadly explosion came just eight days before the national-level polls, with political parties leading their electoral campaigns in full swing amid heightened security and deployment of law enforcers to ensure the law and order situation across the country.

The situation was further aggravated today (Wednesday) as violence marred electioneering activities as multiple terrorist attacks in a row rocked various cities of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa resulting in several injuries.

Three separate hand grenade attacks were carried out against the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) election offices in Quetta and Kalat’s Mangochar. The strikes were followed by another hand grenade attack on the PPP candidate Zahoor Buledi’s house in Kech, and fatal armed attacks on Awami National Party (ANP) and an independent candidate, in Chaman and KP’s Bajaur, respectively.

The attacks came against the backdrop of increased terrorist activities that have plagued the two provinces in recent months.

With more than 128 million voters, various circles have raised concerns over the deteriorating security situation in the country, especially in the aforementioned provinces, with some lawmakers even moving the Senate seeking poll delay in light of security threats.

Previous general election campaigns in the country have also witnessed spasms of violence, with scores of candidates and voters targeted by bombings and gun attacks and it seems that the 2024 polls are likely to be no different as the country has witnessed a significant surge in targeting of electioneering activities and candidates.

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