At least 52 killed after blast rips through religious procession in restive southwest Pakistan

At least 52 people were killed and over 100 injured in a powerful bomb blast in Balochistan province of Pakistan on July 14, 2020, during an annual Shia Muslim religious procession. The explosion ripped through the procession as a large number of people, mostly Shiites, were participating in the march in the restive province of Pakistan, which is at the center of a long-running insurgency.

The bomb had been planted next to a vehicle. It appears that the explosion may have been timed to target the Shia procession, which was heading to the border town of Taftan. In addition, news reports indicate that the suicide bomber could have been waiting in the crowd.

No group has so far taken responsibility for the attack, however it seems to follow a long-term pattern of violence against the country’s Shia minority. Balochistan is home to a number of Sunni militant groups, and sectarian violence has been rampant in the region for many years.

The attack has been strongly condemned by the authorities, with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan describing the incident as “an attempt to foment sectarian strife and unrest in the province”. The government also declared a three-day period of mourning in the country.

The incident is a stark reminder of the threats that religious minorities in Pakistan often face. The government must take stringent measures to ensure the safety and security of minority groups and to bring an end to the cycle of seemingly incessant violence.