The explosion occurred on Friday near a mosque in the country’s southwestern province of Balochistan, as people gathered to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Balochistan government has declared a state of emergency. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, another explosion occurred at a mosque near the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Footage from the scene in Baloch town of Mastung showed injured people being rescued by rescue workers and residents.
“The bodies were lying on top of each other,” said Saifullah, a local journalist in his 40s.
“The crowd was waiting for the [celebratory] procession to start. I was nearby when the bomb exploded,” he said, adding that 10 to 12 of his relatives were killed.
Haibullah, 22, was injured in the attack. Speaking to the BBC from his hospital bed in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, he said:
“Everything was ready on stage, the bomb exploded just two minutes after I arrived.
“Everyone was shocked. I broke my leg.”
Sarfaraz Ahmed Sasoli, in his 20s, was a security member of the procession. He said the bomber approached the area as religious leaders were gathering. “My older and younger brothers were all injured, as were my friends. Everyone in our area had an injured brother, father or son,” he said.
Local hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of victims, and local authorities called for blood donations on social media.
Balochistan Police Chief Abdul Khaliq Sheikh confirmed that it was a suicide blast. He said a senior police officer was killed while trying to arrest the attacker. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the blast was a “very heinous act” and condemned what he called “terrorist attacks” in both areas.
Separately, a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police spokesman said two suicide bombers and a vehicle packed with explosives were stopped. He said one of the suicide bombers was “neutralized at the gate” while trying to enter the mosque, located within the police precinct in Hangu town.
The number of casualties at the Hangu mosque is unknown, but police said some people may be trapped under rubble after the roof collapsed.
Bordering Afghanistan and Iran, Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province and is frequently attacked by armed militants, including the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic State group. Earlier this month, at least 11 people – including a prominent Muslim leader – were injured in an explosion in the same neighborhood.
However, the TTP denied any involvement in Friday’s blast, saying in a statement that such an attack was against its policy. The group also “vehemently condemned” the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attack, saying “mosques, schools and public gatherings do not belong together”. among our goals.”
Pakistan’s Acting Information Minister, Murtaza Solangi, wrote about having “nothing to do with any religion”. ideology and ethics.
The State of Pakistan celebrates the birth of Prophet Muhammad on the 12th day of the third month of the Islamic calendar.
There was a public holiday, which began with gun salutes in Islamabad and provincial capitals, and public spaces were decorated with colorful lights. Scholars from almost all schools of thought agree on commemorating this day. Processions take place, many of them organized by the Barelvi Sunni school of thought to which the majority in Pakistan adhere.
However, some religious movements disagree with the organization of the procession, saying there is no evidence