The bombing came as Pakistan’s caretaker government launched a crackdown on political gatherings with Sharif, who was ousted by the Supreme Court last year and convicted in absentia of corruption a week ago, flying back to rally his party ahead of the general elections.
Baluchistan caretaker Health Minister Faiz Kakar told Reuters that the death toll in the attack had risen to 70 people, with over 120 wounded. Senior police official Qaim Lashari had earlier said that more than 1000 people were in attendance at the rally in the town of Mastung in the violence-plagued province of Baluchistan.
Earlier in the day, a bomb blast killed four people in the northern town of Bannu when it struck the campaign convoy of Akram Khan Durrani, an ally ofSharif‘s party from the religious Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal party (MMA).
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Islamist militants linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State have been operating in the province, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan. It also has an indigenous ethnic Baluch insurgency fighting the central government.