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At Least 25 Killed After Blast Hits Convoy Of Senior Pakistani Official


Pakistani officials say a bomb blast has hit the convoy of a senior lawmaker as it traveled in the southwestern province of Balochistan, killing at least 25 people and injuring more than 30 others.

Pakistani Senate Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri told journalists that he suffered minor injuries in the May 12 blast.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the Mastung district.

District health official Sher Ahmed Satakzai said that at least 25 people were killed and 10 were in critical condition in the hospital.

The senator, who is being treated in hospital, was on his way back to Quetta after distributing graduation certificates to students who had graduated from a madrasah, or religious academy.

"I am alive. Allah has saved my life. It was a sudden blast. Broken pieces of the windscreen hit me. I am injured but safe," Haideri said on private TV channel SAMAA. "The driver and other people sitting next to me were badly injured."

Mastung police official Mohamed Akbar said more than two dozen injured were taken to Mastung’s main hospital.

The death toll might go up as some of the injured were in critical condition, Akbar added.

Mastung police official Ghazanfar Ali Shah said the convoy appeared to have been hit by a suicide bomber.

However, government spokesman Anwarul Haq Kakar said the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb, which he said wounded some members of Haideri’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam political party.

The party, whose leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is known for his pro-Taliban and anti-U.S. stances, has been targeted by the Pakistani Taliban in the past.

Resource-rich Balochistan has been plagued by sectarian violence, Islamist militant attacks, and a separatist insurgency that has led to thousands of casualties since 2004.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, AP, and AFP
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