Violence in Pakistan continues to rise ahead of the July 25 general elections, and the death toll in the most recent bombing on Friday at an election rally has spiked to 149 people, Qaim Lashari, the deputy commissioner of Balochistan’s Mastung region told Reuters Monday.
In addition, 180 people were wounded and nine of those pronounced dead are children, Lashari said.
Also among the dead is the Baluchistan Awami Party (BAP) provincial candidate Siraj Raisani, who was holding a campaign event in Mastung at the time of the attack. Raisani began to address a crowd seated under a tent, when the bomb detonated. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which utilized between eight and 10 kilograms of explosive materials, the director of civil defense, Muhammad Aslam Tareen, told CNN Monday.
Less than 500 miles away, in the city of Bannu, another bomb detonated, this one targeting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy as he traveled between political rallies scheduled for the day. Durrani, a member of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal party (MMA), survived the attack, but the blast killed four and injured 32 more, according to Reuters. (RELATED: ‘Pakistani Mystery Man’: Awans’ Father Transferred Data To Pakistani Government Ex-Partner Claims)
At yet another political rally on Tuesday, this one in support of the Awami National Party (ANP), a suicide bomber in Peshawar, who later was identified as a member of the Pakistani Taliban, killed at least 20 people and injured 63 others, according to CNN. ANP candidate Haroon Bilour was killed in the blast, meeting a similar fate to his father, senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour, who was killed in a suicide bombing in 2012.
Political parties within Pakistan are suspending political rallies and campaign activities in the wake of these attacks, and the government ordered the national flag to fly at half-staff, CNN reported.