The country is observing a day of national mourning today in light of the recent terrorist attacks against election candidates — the deadliest of which claimed 131 lives on Friday, including that of Nawab Siraj Raisani, in Mastung.
As per directions of Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk, flags will be flying at half-mast today across government officers and structures as a tribute to the martyred.
Moreover, the provincial government of Balochistan had announced two-day mourning on Saturday.
A total of 131 people were killed after a suicide bomber struck Raisani’s election meeting in Darenghar area of Mastung. Raisani, the brother of former Balochistan chief minister Nawaz Aslam Raisani, was a Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate from PB-35 constituency.
Scores were also injured in the attack, five of whom have been shifted to Karachi via a military plane owing to their critical condition.
Investigations are under way into the attack, with an FIR registered on terrorism charges and Mastung Tehsildar Buland Khan assigned as the investigating officer.
The brutal incident was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of the general election on July 25, and came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured in a bomb blast targetting a JUI-F convoy in Bannu on Friday.
On Tuesday, a bomb targeted a meeting of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Peshawar, martyring ANP leader Haroon Bilour along with 21 others.
The military and intelligence agencies have warned of security threats in the run-up to the election, with the military saying it will deploy more than 370,000 personnel on polling day to ensure peace.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks targeting political rallies and candidates in Pakistan, according to a UN statement on Saturday.
It said that UN stood in solidarity with and supported the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
Raisani laid to rest
On Saturday, Raisani was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in Kanak area of Mastung district in Balochistan. The martyr was laid to rest near the graves of his father Nawab Ghaus Baksh Raisani and his son Mir Haqmal Raisani.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Caretaker Balochistan Chief Minister Alauddin Marri, Southern Command chief Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Inspector General Frontier Corps Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, provincial ministers, chief secretary and members of the civil bureaucracy attended the funeral.
‘Soldier of Pakistan’
The army chief, who reached Quetta on Saturday, also visited the Combined Military Hospital, where he inquired after the injured of Mastung blast.
Referring to Raisani as a “soldier of Pakistan”, General Bajwa said they had lost a die-hard, brave patriot, who would be remembered for his commitment to and contributions for Pakistan.
“Our journey to peace hasn’t yet reached the desired destination of complete peace, but we are successfully nearing its achievement,” he said, according to the army’s media wing.
“We as a nation have stood up to the challenges of terrorism and extremism and shall defeat all inimical forces undeterred.”
Nawaz Siraj Raisani
Raisani was born on April 4, 1963 in the Mehrgarh area of Bolan district of Balochistan.
He completed his initial education from Bolan, later obtaining a BS in Agronomy from Agriculture University Tando Jam.
He also studied a course in floriculture from an academic institute in Holland.
Raisani’s father, late Nawab Raisani remained governor of Balochistan and a federal minister for food and agriculture. He had also founded the Balochistan Muttahida Mahaz (BMM) in 1970.
Raisani was recently elected as the chairperson of BMM and merged his party with the Balochistan Awami Party on June 3.
The deceased had lost his son 14-year-old Akmal Raisani in a bomb blast in Mastung in July 2011.