At least 70 people, including politician Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, were killed and 120 others injured in a suicide blast that hit an election gathering in Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province on Friday, local Urdu TV channel Geo News reported.
Qaim Lashari, the deputy commissioner of the Mastung district of Balochistan, said that a suicide bomber exploded his explosives-laden vest near Raisani's convoy as it reached the gathering site in Darengarh area of Mastung, according to the news channel.
According to the official, the attack was targeting Raisani. Raisani's teenage son, Hakmal Raisani, was killed in a grenade attack at his vehicle in the district in 2011. Raisani, who was also in the vehicle at that time, escaped unhurt.
Most of the injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital Mastung while those in critical condition were sent to the Civil Hospital Quetta for better treatment, where an emergency had been declared with additional medical staff summoned, according to local media reports.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk strongly condemned the deadly attack in the district. Both of them expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the attack and directed the concerned authorities to provide best medical treatment to the injured.
Raisani, a leader of the Balochistan Awami Party, was a candidate for a provincial assembly in Mastung and was campaigning for the July 25 general elections. The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to postpone the elections in the constituency owing to the death of Raisani.
It is one of the major terrorist attacks on candidates as political parties from across the country are busy campaigning the forthcoming elections.
Earlier on Friday, at least four people were killed and 24 others injured in a blast that hit a convoy of a political party leader in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
On Wednesday, Awami National Party candidate Haroon Bilour was among the 22 killed in an attack on his election rally in the northwest city of Peshawar.
On July 7, at least seven people, including a candidate of political party Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, were injured when his convoy came under a bomb attack in northwestern area of the country.