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Another barbaric attack on the hapless
Poverty kills the poor, the unprotected and the underprivileged. Terrorism not only kills the above three categories, but also shatters their spirit – and security.

And this is exactly what happened on Friday in Pakistan.

In what is considered one of the deadliest attacks in the nation’s history, a suicide bomber targeting a political rally in southwest Pakistan killed over 100 people. The blast – which was claimed by the Daesh group – ripped through the crowd in the town of Mastung near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta.

The attack came ahead of the arrest of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his return to Pakistan.

It was the latest in a series of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on July 25, and underpinned the setbacks behind the nation’s relentless drive to maintain peace and security.

Emergency workers shuttled victims to nearby vehicles from the bombed-out compound as bystanders sobbed in the darkness due to the lack of electricity in the impoverished area.

Human remains and pieces of flesh were a common sight. Victims in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and nearby Quetta.

Quetta and the rest of Balochistan province have long been hit by insurgency. There are several ethnic Baloch separatist groups operating in the resource-rich province, but Al Qaeda and other militant groups also have a presence here.

Aside from a long-running separatist insurgency, and sectarian tensions, Balochistan also suffers from rising crime.

Quetta has also long been regarded as a base for the radicals, whose leadership has regularly held meetings there in the past.

The explosion killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), provincial home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP.

It was the most lethal since militants assaulted a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014, killing over 150 people, mostly children, and one of the deadliest in Pakistan’s long struggle with militancy.

It came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated near a Pakistani politician’s convoy in Bannu on Friday, near the border with Afghanistan.

The politician — Akram Khan Durrani, a candidate of the MuttahidaMajlis-e-Amal (MMA) party — survived, police said.

During his term in office, Sharif criticised the military’s involvement in civilian affairs and its efforts in fighting extremists.

Whatever the political compulsions, the death toll is shocking. It becomes worse when you think they were innocent.

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