South Asia

Explosion at rally in northwestern Pakistan claims 40 lives, leaves over 130 injured

A devastating explosion at a political rally in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday resulted in the death of at least 40 people and left over 130 others injured, as reported by the police.

The blast occurred during a gathering of the conservative Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, known for its affiliation with hardline political Islam, in the former tribal area of Bajaur. Blood-soaked and injured individuals were rushed to a nearby hospital, with some being carried from ambulances to the entrance for immediate medical attention.

The cause of the explosion is yet to be confirmed, according to the police, and the tragic incident has sent shockwaves through the region. Initial reports from Bilal Faizi, a spokesperson for Rescue 1122, a first-responder service in the province, indicated 17 fatalities and over 70 injuries, but the toll for both figures could rise as rescue efforts continue.

Maulana Abdul Rasheed, the secretary general of the JUI-F, expressed the devastating impact of the blast on the party’s members: “Today during a JUI (Jamiat Ulema Islam) rally, there was a blast. Many of our colleagues have been martyred, many injured. Personally, l am safe, but my colleagues have suffered heavy losses.”

The incident highlights the resurgence of attacks by Islamist militants in Pakistan since last year when a ceasefire between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamabad broke down. The political rally turned into a scene of tragedy and chaos, leaving families and communities devastated by the loss of their loved ones and the injured in need of urgent medical care. Authorities are actively investigating the incident to determine its cause and apprehend those responsible for the heinous act of violence.