Deadly twin bombings claim the lives of at least 22 people as Pakistan gears up for elections | Update on Election Preparations

Bombings in Pakistan’s Balochistan province

The attacks target election campaign offices of candidates in the restive Balochistan province.Two bombs in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan have killed at least 22 people with more injured.
The twin blasts on Wednesday came a day before elections. The attacks targeted the election offices of political parties in the restive region.
The first attack, which killed 12 people, took place at the office of independent election candidate Asfandyar Khan Kakar in Pishin district near the border with Afghanistan, police sources told Al Jazeera.
The second explosion in Qilla Saifullah detonated near an office of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), a religious party that has previously been the target of attacks, according to the province’s information minister.
Jumma Dad Khan, the deputy commissioner of Pishin district, said the blast there injured many people. Some are in serious condition, the medical superintendent at Khanozai Hospital told Al Jazeera.
At least 10 people were killed in the attack in Qila Saifullah, Balochistan’s caretaker information minister, Jan Achakzai, told ARY News.
The blast in Pishin was the result of an improvised explosive device attached to a motorcycle, he added.
Heightened security concerns
No group has yet claimed responsibility as attacks have risen in recent months as Pakistan prepares to go to the polls on Thursday.
The bombings have raised worries over security during the vote, and authorities said they will boost security at polling booths.
Tens of thousands of police and paramilitary forces have already been deployed across Pakistan in a bid to avert attacks after the recent surge in violence. Balochistan has been particularly blighted.
The separatist Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has stepped up attacks in recent months. Last week, at least 15 people were killed when the BLA targeted military and security installations in the city of Mach, 65km (40 miles) south of Balochistan’s capital, Quetta.
The restive region, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important because of its rich copper, zinc and natural gas reserves. Cities in the province are a constant target of armed groups. Baloch nationalists initially wanted a larger share of the province’s resources but later initiated a movement for independence.
Fearing violence during Thursday’s elections, Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai announced on Sunday night that internet service will be temporarily restricted on election day.
Double threat
Pakistani forces are also facing growing security threats in the the remote northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TPJ) has also increased its violent activity.
The group has claimed responsibility for an attack on Monday in which at least 10 police officers were killed.
In December, a TPJ suicide bomber in Tehsil Daraban killed at least 23 soldiers and wounded 32.
Last month, at least 101 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in the regional capital, Peshawar.

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