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Pakistan blast targets senator's convoy, killing 25

By
Danielle Haynes
Pakistani security officials secure a hospital in which people are being treated after a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Friday. At least 25 people were killed and 30 others injured in the roadside bomb blast that is believed to have targeted and injured Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, the Deputy Chairman of Pakistan's Senate and leader of opposition Islamic political party Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam. Photo by Fayyaz Ahmed/EPA
Pakistani security officials secure a hospital in which people are being treated after a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Friday. At least 25 people were killed and 30 others injured in the roadside bomb blast that is believed to have targeted and injured Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, the Deputy Chairman of Pakistan's Senate and leader of opposition Islamic political party Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam. Photo by Fayyaz Ahmed/EPA

May 12 (UPI) -- At least 25 people died Friday in a bombing targeting the convoy of a top Pakistani senator in Balochistan province, police and health officials said.

Sen. Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, deputy chairman of Pakistan's upper house, was leaving a mosque when the blast went off in Mastung. It's unclear if the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device or a suicide bomber. One witness told Dawn News there was sustained firing after the blast.

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"After the air cleared, we saw bodies everywhere," the witness said.

District health officer Dr. Sher Zaman told Pakistan's Geo News that 25 people died and 35 others with injuries were taken to hospitals in Quetta. Haideri was transferred to Combined Military Hospital with injuries.

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Dawn News reported that Director of Staff Iftikhar Mughal died in the attack.

"I am alive, Allah has saved my life," Haideri told Samaa TV. "It was all very sudden. Broken pieces of the windscreen hit me. I am injured but safe. The driver and other people sitting next to me were badly injured."

The driver later died.

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Haideri belongs to the opposition Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, or JUI-F, political party, which came under attack in 2014 and 2011. JUI-F leader Abdul Malik said Haideri previously requested a bulletproof vehicle, but was not provided with one.

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Police cordoned off the area and were investigating the cause of the blast.

"Many of our dear companions have been martyred [in this attack]," JUI-F chief Fazulr Rehman said. "We have to continue to work for this country and the stability of Islam."

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