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Suicide Blast at Pakistan Political Party Meet Claims 44 Lives

Pakistan: A tragic suicide bombing during a political gathering of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) party in northwest Pakistan resulted in the loss of at least 44 lives and left more than 100 others wounded on Sunday (Jul 30), according to officials.

The incident occurred in the town of Khar, near the Afghanistan border, where hundreds of supporters had assembled under a canopy to attend the event of this prominent Islamic party, which is a government coalition partner led by an influential firebrand cleric.

Eyewitness Abdullah Khan described the horrifying scene, recounting how the tent collapsed on one side, trapping people who were desperately trying to escape. The area was strewn with human flesh, limbs, and body parts, alongside lifeless bodies.

The toll continued to rise, with the health minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province confirming late Sunday that 44 people had died, and over 100 were wounded. The suicide bomber detonated himself in close proximity to the stage, causing the devastating impact.

The political landscape in Pakistan is currently preparing for upcoming elections, and this tragic event coincided with a visit by Chinese officials, including Vice Premier He Lifeng, to the country.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his condolences to the victims and condemned the blast, vowing to hold those responsible accountable. So far, no group has claimed responsibility, but the local chapter of the Islamic State (IS) group has previously carried out attacks against JUI-F.

The JUI-F party, once known for its hardline stance, has softened its public image over the years to build alliances with secular parties. While not strong enough to secure power alone, it plays a vital role in coalitions.

Pakistan has experienced an increase in militant attacks since the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan in 2021. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been particularly active in targeting security officials, including police officers.

The situation in the former tribal areas bordering Afghanistan has become more volatile since the return of the Afghan Taliban, leading to heightened concerns about terrorism violence ahead of the elections.

As Pakistan mourns the loss of innocent lives, the nation remains vigilant in its efforts to curb extremism and maintain peace in the region. The global community stands in solidarity with Pakistan during these trying times, condemning such acts of violence and supporting efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

Note: The reported death toll and injured count have been mentioned as confirmed by officials. The situation may evolve as further information emerges.

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