Munir Ahmed Baloch is currently receiving visitors at his residence in Mastung, located approximately 50km (31 miles) from Quetta, Pakistan. These visitors have come to offer condolences for the loss of his younger brother, Sarfaraz. The brothers were among hundreds of worshippers gathered outside a local mosque on Friday to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad when a suicide bomber detonated himself. The incident has resulted in a death toll of 60, with many others injured and receiving medical attention in Quetta. Sarfaraz, aged 24, was among those who lost their lives. Munir Ahmed Baloch, aged 35, recounted the events leading up to the tragedy and expressed his disbelief that such a heinous act could occur at a sacred religious gathering. The town of Mastung is currently in mourning, with residents struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack thus far, and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has distanced themselves from the bombing. However, the prevailing unease that has enveloped the town shows no signs of abating even two days later.
In a display of mourning for the victims of the Mastung blast and to express solidarity with their grieving families, the business community in Balochistan province observed a shutter-down strike on Sunday. Shops remained closed in Quetta, Mastung, and other towns such as Khuzdar and Kalat.
Muhammad Yasin Mengal, the Secretary General of Anjuman e Tajran (Association of Business Community Members) Quetta, informed Al Jazeera that they had called for a province-wide business shutdown to honor the martyrs of the Mastung blast. He emphasized the need for the government to prioritize law and order, as terrorism has severely impacted business activities in Balochistan.
In the village of Khad Kocha, located approximately 8km (5 miles) from Mastung, Zahoor Ahmed mourned the loss of four family members on Sunday. His two brothers and two cousins had attended the mosque adorned in new clothes but tragically never returned.
Zahoor expressed his disbelief that individuals who attacked innocent people on such a sacred day could consider themselves Muslims. He fervently prayed for God to accept the martyrdom of his brothers.
Pakistan has been engaged in a prolonged battle against armed groups for the past 15 years. However, the country has recently experienced a significant increase in attacks since November 2021, following the collapse of a fragile peace agreement between the government and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Earlier this year, a devastating bomb blast at a mosque located within the police quarters in the northwestern city of Peshawar resulted in the loss of over 100 lives.
The caretaker government of Pakistan, entrusted with the responsibility of conducting a peaceful election in January 2024, has been grappling with the challenge of addressing these attacks.
On Saturday, Sarfaraz Bugti, the caretaker Interior Minister, asserted that the government possesses knowledge regarding the individuals responsible for the Mastung attack and vowed that they would not escape justice. Bugti conveyed to reporters in Quetta, "We will seek retribution for the loss of Pakistani citizens' lives with full force and through a collaborative effort."
In response to the Mastung blast, the Balochistan government has declared compensation of 1.5 million rupees ($5,184) for the victims.
However, for the families who have suffered the loss of their loved ones, monetary compensation offers little solace.
Shahbaz Khan Baloch made a journey from the remote village of Sharif Abad to Quetta on Sunday morning with the purpose of visiting his injured relatives who were receiving treatment at the trauma center of Quetta Civil Hospital. Tragically, he had lost 13 members of his family in the bombing incident that occurred on Friday. Shahbaz expressed that the entire village is currently in a state of mourning, as numerous families have suffered the loss of four or five members in the devastating blast.
In light of this heartbreaking situation, Shahbaz Khan Baloch earnestly appealed to the Pakistani government to ensure the provision of high-quality healthcare facilities for the injured members of his family. One of them is currently in critical condition due to a severe head injury caused by a splinter.
Recalling the events of that fateful day, Shahbaz shared the emotional account of leaving his loved ones with joy and anticipation to actively participate in the celebrations of Prophet Muhammad's birthday. However, moments after the attack, he received a distressing phone call informing him that the congregation had been targeted by a powerful bombing. Overwhelmed with concern, Shahbaz rushed to the scene only to be confronted with a horrifying sight of bloodshed and lifeless bodies strewn across the ground.
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Hi my name is Abdul Rashid a novelist. Seeking opportunities to continue exploring the world of fiction and connecting with a wider audience through my writing. People who show my story them satisfaction is my satisfaction.