In the region of Mastung in Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan, a tragic suicide attack occurred at a gathering commemorating the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. This heinous incident has resulted in the loss of more than 50 lives, as reported by both national and international media. As of now, law enforcement officials have yet to establish a clear link to the perpetrators behind this attack.
Such suicide attacks have historically been associated with religious extremist groups, such as the Pakistani Taliban and Daish (ISIS). However, it is important to note that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has vehemently denied any involvement in this particular attack.
Balochistan has been a consistent target for these jihadist groups in recent times. In 2016, a Quetta hospital was targeted when lawyers had gone there to receive the body of their Bar Association president, who had been killed in a targeted attack. Tragically, more than 100 lawyers and civilians lost their lives in this incident, which was claimed by Daish. Similarly, Siraj Raisani, a brother of former Chief Minister Aslam Rasiani, was killed in 2018 at a political gathering by Daish, along with others.
Balochistan has long been plagued by conflicts between Baloch nationalists and the Islamabad government. The Pakistani state has often been accused of using intelligence and law enforcement resources to suppress secular Baloch nationalists while turning a blind eye to religious extremism, which it may consider a counterbalance against nationalist forces.
Mastung has witnessed a disturbing pattern of target killings and abductions of Baloch political workers. Allegations have been made about state-backed figures like Shafik Mangal, who is known for his extreme religious ideals and alleged links with jihadist groups. These groups have previously targeted Shia Hazara minorities in the region.