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

Pakistan held funerals on Monday for the victims of a suicide bombing at a rally, as the death toll increased to 45 and the government promised to find those behind the attack.

The incident: The explosion took place at the gathering of a pro-Taliban cleric’s party on Sunday, leaving at least 45 people dead and about 200 wounded.
* The rally was organized by the Jamiat Ulema Islam party, whose leader is the hardline cleric and politician, Fazlur Rehman, who was not present at the meeting.
* The bombing targeted a large tent near a market in Bajur, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
* No groups have immediately claimed responsibility, but initial police investigations suggest the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group could be behind it.

Political context: The rally was part of party preparations for the forthcoming parliamentary elections expected in October or November after the current parliament’s term concludes.
* The Jamiat Ulema Islam party is part of Pakistan’s coalition government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who came to power in April 2022 by ousting former Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote.
* Sharif is expected to dissolve parliament in August to pave the way for the elections.

Responses: The suicide bombing has drawn national and international condemnation, with condolences pouring in across the country and from foreign embassies.
* Prime Minister Sharif contacted Rehman to express his condolences and assure him that those responsible for the attack would be held accountable.
* Both ruling and opposition parties, as well as the U.S. and Russian embassies in Islamabad, also expressed their condemnations and offered condolences to the victims’ families.
* Abdul Rasheed, a senior leader in Rehman’s party, stated that while the bombing sought to weaken the party, “such attacks cannot deter our resolve.”

The aftermath: The death toll increased from 44 to 45 when a critically injured person died in the hospital, according to physician Gul Naseeb.
* Dozens who sustained minor injuries have been discharged, while severely wounded individuals were transported to Peshawar hospital by army helicopters.
* Attacks against Chinese nationals in northwestern Pakistan have also been noted in recent times, with the recent bombing happening just hours before Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng’s visit to Islamabad to commemorate a decade of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

View original article on NPR

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