Blast at rally injures 30 in Pakistan (Lead)

August 26th, 2008 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 26 (DPA) At least 30 people were injured Tuesday when a bomb ripped through a political rally by nationalist tribesmen in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, officials said.The bombing occurred as the Baloch nationalists observed the second anniversary of the death of their rebellious tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was killed in his cave hideout during a military operation.

A homemade explosive device strapped to a motorbike went off as political activists gathered in the town of Dera Allah Yar, located some 300 km southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, a duty officer in the local police station said.

“No one was killed at the blast site, but eight of the injured taken to the hospital were in critical condition,” according to the police officer.

Earlier reports said that at least three people were killed and over 25 injured in the blast.

Tuesday’s attack was preceded by the overnight killing of at least eight people in militant violence and a clash between government security forces and protesting political activists.

Rockets believed to be fired by insurgents from unknown locations struck several houses in the town of Mach, killing seven people, including three children. More than a dozen people were also wounded.

The rockets also hit security installations. The attacks came after a man was killed and seven others were injured when the paramilitary troops opened fire on a political rally in the town of Turbat to disperse the crowd.

Bugti’s death anniversary is being observed as a “black day” in Balochistan where a transport strike is also taking place.

Ethnic Baloch rebels in impoverished Balochistan are seeking greater provincial autonomy and higher shares in revenues generated from the natural resources exploited in the area. They regularly target security forces and infrastructure.

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