In the lead-up to Pakistan's general elections on February 8, Balochistan province experienced a wave of bomb and grenade attacks, with at least 10 incidents reported.
These attacks targeted police stations and deputy commissioners' offices, resulting in one fatality and six injuries, including those of a police officer and a jail warden. The blasts occurred in various areas, including the provincial capital, Quetta.
In one particularly tragic incident, a bomb planted along the China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation (CPEC) road in the Spinny area of Quetta went off, resulting in the death of an 84-year-old passerby. The intensity of the blast rocked several areas of the provincial capital, leading to heightened security measures and the cordoning off of the affected area by the police. The victim's body, mutilated due to proximity to the blast, was taken to the civil hospital for further examination.
Additionally, another attack near Quetta's outskirts left an assistant sub-inspector injured. A hand grenade was hurled at the Shalkot police station, exploding in the courtyard, causing damage to the station's building and some vehicles in the parking area. The injured police officer was promptly admitted to the Civil Hospital for medical attention.
Furthermore, Mastung's central prison became a target for hand grenades, resulting in explosions inside the jail and subsequent damage to the building. A jail warden was injured in this attack. Political party offices, including those of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and the National Party, were also subject to grenade attacks, though no casualties were reported.
These attacks extended to deputy commissioners' offices in Dhadar and Panjgur, both targeted with hand grenades. Meanwhile, one person sustained injuries in a separate grenade attack on the house of the Kachhi deputy commissioner. In the Turbat market area, a blast caused one person to be injured, and a grenade was thrown at police and Frontier Corps (FC) posts, resulting in no casualties.
These incidents occurred as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) convened a high-level meeting to address the security situation in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Despite the concerning security challenges, the Chief Election Commissioner, Sikandar Sultan Raja, affirmed that the elections would proceed as scheduled on February 8. Raja expressed concern about the fragile law and order situation in the provinces and condemned attacks on the ECP office and political parties. However, he asserted that the electoral process would continue unaffected by these incidents, and any attempts to disrupt it would be tackled with the assistance of law enforcement agencies, including the army.