- Local officials said that at least 52 people were killed and scores more were wounded after a suicide bombing in Mastung in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Friday.1
- The attack took place as hundreds gathered to mark the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. The celebration is accepted by a majority of Muslims in Pakistan but not by some religious denominations.2
- Local officials also confirmed that Nawaz Gishkori, the deputy superintendent of police in the region, was killed in the attack, which authorities have claimed was a 'suicide blast.' He reportedly lost his life as he attempted to stop the assault. Three other police officers were injured.3
- Meanwhile, two further blasts were reported in Hangu of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region — this time targeting a mosque at a police station. Police said that gunfire was exchanged with two attackers but said that blasts nonetheless took place at the entrance of the police station and one a few minutes later inside the mosque. At least five people were killed and 12 more were injured.4
- No group has yet taken responsibility for either bombing. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, issued a statement distancing itself from the attacks. 'The goals of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are clear. Mosques, seminaries, schools and public gatherings are not among our targets. We have nothing to do with today’s two blasts and we strongly condemn them,' a spokesman said.5
- Some suggested that the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, the IS affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is more likely to be responsible. An IS commander was this month killed Mastung, prompting a bombing that wounded 11 civilians a few days later.1
- Narrative A, as provided by Dawn.com. These heinous terrorist attacks are an attempt at sowing chaos and pushing back against religious tolerance. These assaults call for a swift investigation, and whoever is behind these attacks must be held responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
- Narrative B, as provided by South china morning post. It's not enough to just hold these culprits responsible: terrorism is on the rise in the region and will continue to be until preventative action is taken. This looks like signing intelligence-sharing agreements with Afghanistan and creating a broad counter-terrorism strategy that addresses the structural causes of extremism.