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Bombings kill at least 28 ahead of Pakistan elections

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Pakistan has suspended mobile phone services as voting in its national election gets underway.
bombings pakistan elections

Bombing attacks killed at least 28 in Pakistan ahead of the country’s elections.

The government suspended mobile phone services as voting got underway.

Two blasts rocked the Balochistan region, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, on the eve of the election.

It follows recent government crackdowns against political opponents, including the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan bombings

Two bombings on Wednesday (local time) targeted an election gathering and the offices of political opponents of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Officials said at least 28 people were killed in the blasts and the death toll is likely to climb.

Five people were airlifted to a hospital after the blasts.

Terrorist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan response

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has announced the country’s borders to Afghanistan and Iran are currently closed.

Authorities have responded to the increased security concerns by blocking mobile phone service across the country.

It comes as voting gets underway in Pakistan’s national election. The country’s interior ministry said the suspension of phone coverage was temporary.

Political tensions

Parliamentary elections follow recent political protests and unrest in Pakistan.

This includes violence after former Prime Minister and cricket star, Imran Khan, was sentenced to jail for corruption and other charges.

Khan was PM from 2018 to 2022. He said the case against him was “built on lies, bullying, conspiracy and deceit”.

Many prominent supporters have been arrested or intimidated, and TV journalists say they have been prevented from using Khan’s name.

UN response

United Nations spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the attacks in Pakistan were “clearly related to the elections.”

The UN strongly condemned the attacks, and emphasised the right of Pakistanis to participate in elections “free from fear, from intimidation, and, frankly, from violence”.

Australian government

The Australian Government has updated its advice, urging anyone planning to visit Pakistan during the election period to “reconsider”.

It warned the “security situation” was “unpredictable” and “volatile”.

The Government flagged internet services were also at risk of being shut down by authorities in Pakistan, while roads and highways could be closed “at short notice”.

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