Six killed by blast at pro-Palestinian rally in Pakistan: Officials

Pakistan Balochistan blast
A man stands near a damaged vehicle at the site of bomb blast during a a pro-Palestinian rally, in which six people were killed and another 14 wounded, in Chaman of Pakistan’s Balochistan province near the Afghanistan border on May 21, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

Chaman:  At least six people were killed and another 14 wounded by a bomb at a pro-Palestinian rally in a Pakistani city bordering Afghanistan, officials said, the latest violence to hit the restive area.

“It was an improvised explosive device which went off as participants began to disperse,” said Tariq Mengal, a senior local administration official in Chaman. A second official confirmed the incident and toll.

Thousands of people rallied in support of the Palestinians across Pakistan Friday, hours after a ceasefire was announced between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group which governs the Gaza Strip.

Friday’s blast comes just weeks after a suicide bombing in the provincial capital of Quetta struck a luxury hotel where the Chinese ambassador was being hosted.

That attack was later claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.

Chaman has long served as a gateway for Afghan Taliban militants entering Afghanistan from their alleged shelters in Balochistan, where the group’s leadership council is believed to be based.

Pakistan is fighting several low-level insurgencies in the impoverished province, waged by Islamist, separatist and sectarian groups.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest and poorest province despite being rich in natural resources.

Resentment has been fuelled by billions of dollars of Chinese money flowing into the region through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a key part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative – which locals say gave them little benefit as most new jobs went to outsiders.