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After Bomber Kills 130, Pakistan Fears More Violence During Elections

After Bomber Kills 130, Pakistan Fears More Violence During Elections”

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.

The bombings come at a moment of increasing political turmoil in Pakistan as former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested after arriving in the eastern city of Lahore late Friday, as he aims to energise his embattled party's base - injecting fresh uncertainty into the country days ahead of the polls.

A Pakistan court handed him a 10-year prison term and sentenced his daughter for seven years over the purchase of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.

The army chief, who reached Quetta on Saturday, also visited the Combined Military Hospital, where he inquired after the injured of Mastung blast. So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack.

Media reports said he was being held in a prison there.

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In a sharp retort to the Congress, the BJP, said people in India were asking when the leaders, who were out on bail, will go to jail. In an attack in the nearby southwestern Baluchistan town of Mastung, Siraj Raisani a candidate in the provincial parliament, died when a suicide bomber blew himself up amid scores of supporters who had gathered at a rally.

Five persons were killed in the Bannu area Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, after a bomb hit a rally of Akram Khan Durrani of Mutahida Majlis Amal.

"The death toll has risen to 128", Balochistan home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP.

With tensions already high over the July 25 election, leading Pakistani newspapers and political commentators called on the nation's military to beef up its counterterrorism efforts and for government security forces to do more to ensure a peaceful democratic transition in the nuclear-armed nation.

Abbas Nasir, former editor of Dawn, says the blast in Mastung may affect it in the nearby districts but it will not cut turnout which has traditionally been low because of other reasons.

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Sharif has been banned from holding political office, but analysts have said his return is aimed at spiking support for his party, now led by younger brother Shahbaz, which is limping towards the vote after a lacklustre campaign.

Pakistan's army will deploy about 371,000 troops on election day, nearly three times the number in 2013, to protect the polling places.

Authorities are calling the attacks the deadliest attacks in the country's history.

At least 20 of the injured among over 200 people are reported to be in critical condition, the Express Tribune reported.

"We have established new check posts due to security threats and concerns and its aim is to prevent any terrorist attack".

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