Pakistan holds funerals as the government vows to find those behind a deadly bombing

Pakistan is mourning the loss of at least 45 people after a suicide bombing targeted a pro-Taliban cleric’s rally, with the government promising to track down the culprits.

The incident: A rally held by Jamiat Ulema Islam party, led by Fazlur Rehman, was hit by a massive suicide bombing on Sunday, which also injured nearly 200 people.
* The bombing took place close to a market in Bajur, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.
* Rehman did not attend the rally, which was part of his party’s preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
* The death toll rose to 45 on Monday, with dozens of people still being treated for their injuries.

Initial investigation: Police believe the Islamic State group’s regional affiliate could be behind this attack.
* The affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, is based in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province and is a rival of the Afghan Taliban.

Response and Condemnation: Prominent figures and entities have condemned the attack both nationally and internationally.
* Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has assured that those who orchestrated the attack would be punished.
* Ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan, ruling and opposition parties in Pakistan, and the U.S. and Russian embassies in Islamabad have all condemned the bombing.

Context: The bombing is considered one of the deadliest in northwestern Pakistan since 2014.
* It comes on the heels of Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng’s visit to Pakistan, marking a decade of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
* Recent incidents include a bombing at a mosque in Peshawar in January that left 74 dead, and another bombing at the Peshawar police headquarters in February which resulted in over 100 casualties.

View original article on NPR

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