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'It was like a doomsday,' victim's family member says of Friday's massive blast in Pakistan

'It was like a doomsday,' victim's family member says of Friday's massive blast in Pakistan

- 'I lost my senses when I saw bodies of my cousin lying there, along with his two sons and my other nephew,' Ayaz Ahmed tell Anadolu
- 2 bombings in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces claim lives of 56 people, including a senior police officer
By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) – "It was like a doomsday for the entire family," remarked Ayaz Ahmed after returning from the funeral of his cousin, his two sons, and a nephew in the Mastung district of Pakistan's Balochistan province, which was rocked by Friday's bombing on an Islamic religious gathering that left over 50 people dead.

Several of his family members were attending the birthday celebration of Prophet Muhammad – the last and mightiest prophet in Islam – when the massive blast shook him even at his home on Friday afternoon, Ayaz told Anadolu by phone on Saturday.

He said he rushed to the site near a mosque and saw flashes all around, some people were mute, apparently dead, and the majority screaming for help with injuries and some helping them rush to hospitals, he said, adding that he was trying to find his loved ones.

After failing to locate them, he went to the hospital and returned when he saw them among the injured being transported to the district headquarters hospital, he said.

"I lost my senses when I saw bodies of my cousin lying there, along with his two sons and my other nephew," he added.

"I will never forget those painful scenes because many people lost loved ones like us," he said, questioning how long they would sacrifice for what.

Indeed, there is no answer to the question, as the South Asian country has been dealing with a wave of terrorist attacks since joining the US in the fight against terrorism following the ouster of the first Afghan Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001.

Over 80,000 innocent civilians, as well as security forces and police personnel, have been killed in terrorism, particularly in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, with no end in sight.

According to police, at least 51 people were killed, including a local police officer, and nearly 139 others were injured in the blast.

"Some of the critically injured lost breath overnight," a senior district police official told Anadol over the phone on Saturday, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Gashkori was the apparent target of the attack, the official said, without explaining why.

According to local media reports, the Counter Terrorism Department has filed a murder and terrorism case against an unidentified attacker.

Earlier on Friday, provincial caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai told Anadolu that the incident was most likely a suicide attack.

The Balochistan government has already declared three days of mourning across the province in solidarity with the victims' families.

It was a gloomy Friday as terrorists also struck the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with one foiled by police and another claiming five lives and injuring several people who were attending weekly Friday prayers.

"There were two blasts... police hit the first suicide bomber outside the mosque's gate, while the second managed to enter and blew himself up," Deputy Commissioner Fazal Akbar told media following the incident.

Around 60 to 70 people had gathered for Friday prayers, but due to the shooting during the first incident, most of the people had left and thus escaped unharmed, Akbar said.



- Surges in terror attacks

In recent years, both the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of several militant outfits, and the Khorasan offshoot of ISIS/Desh terror group claimed responsibility for several attacks.

Pakistan has seen a surge in militant attacks since the Afghan Taliban's return to power in Kabul in August 2021.

Islamabad accuses Kabul of failing to take action against the TTP, which allegedly uses Afghan territory to carry out attacks in Pakistan.

Afghanistan, however, rebuffs the accusation.

Pakistan has lost 26 soldiers in one month, while the army has killed 40 militants during the same period, including four in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Friday, according to data collected by Anadolu.

While 56 civilians, including a police officer, were killed in Friday's two terrorist attacks.

On Sept. 6, over a dozen militants and four Pakistani soldiers were killed in a clash in the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.

On the same day, Pakistan and Afghan Taliban forces also clashed at the border, causing the closure of Torkham, a key border crossing with neighboring Afghanistan that connects Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, for 10 days.

However, later media reports said the Afghan Taliban interim administration launched a crackdown on the TTP militants in the eastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, arresting approximately 200 terrorists.

The development was also confirmed by Pakistan caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Thursday.

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