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Pakistan: At Least 52 killed, More Than 50 Injured In Bomb Blast In Balochistan; Visuals Of Destruction Surface

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At least 52 people were killed and over 50 injured in a suicide blast near a mosque in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province on Friday as they gathered to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, authorities said.

The explosion occurred near Madina Mosque on Al Falah Road in the Mastung district. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mastung’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Nawaz Gashkori, who was on duty for the rally, was among the deceased.

The explosion took place when people were gathering to mark Eid Miladun Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.

City Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri said the explosion was a “suicide blast” and that the bomber exploded himself next to DSP’s car.

Lehri said that the wounded are being shifted to a medical facility while an emergency has been imposed in the hospitals.

At least 52 people were killed and over 50 injured in the blast, District Health Officer Mastung Rashid Muhammad Saeed said.

Some of the injured were in critical condition.

Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said rescue teams have been dispatched to Mastung. He added the critically injured persons are being transferred to Quetta and that an emergency has been imposed in all the hospitals.

“The enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan…,” Achakzai said.”The explosion is unbearable.” Caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has directed authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast.

“The perpetrators of the destruction do not deserve any leniency,” he said. “Those who target peaceful processions will be dealt with firmly.” Chief Minister Domki urged the people to unite against terrorism, adding that Islam was a religion of peace and “those who commit such heinous acts cannot be called Muslims”.

The caretaker CM also announced three days of mourning throughout the province over the tragic incident.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti also strongly condemned the blast.

Stating that “terrorists have no faith or religion”, Bugti asserted that all resources were being put to use during the rescue operation. He added that no effort would be spared in treating the injured and that terrorist elements did not deserve any concession.

Soon after the explosion, the Punjab police also said that its “diligent officials” were performing security duties for Friday prayers at mosques across the province.

Meanwhile, the Karachi police said that Additional Inspector General Khadim Husain Rind has directed the police to remain “completely on high alert” in view of the Mastung blast.

He directed the policemen to tighten security arrangements regarding Eid-i-Miladun Nabi processions and Friday prayers across the city, as well as to monitor any unusual activities.

Second major blast in Mastung over last 15 days

This is the second major blast that has terrorised Mastung over the last 15 days, Geo News reported.

Earlier this month, at least 11 people were injured in a blast in the same district.

Mastung has remained a target of terror attacks for the past several years with a major attack in July 2018 being one of the deadliest in the district’s history during which at least 128 people were killed, The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, which set up as an umbrella group of several terrorist outfits in 2007, called off a ceasefire with the federal government and ordered its terrorists to stage terrorist attacks across the country.

Past attacks

The group, which is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

In January, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with worshippers during afternoon prayers in Pakistan’s restive northwestern Peshawar city, killing over 100 people.

Last year, a similar attack inside a Shia mosque in the Kocha Risaldar area in the city killed 63 people.

International

South African News Site Daily Maverick Alleges Cyber attack By India Hours After Its Report On PM Modi

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South African news site Daily Maverick claimed on Thursday (August 24) that it faced a cyberattack after it published an article on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In its article, the Daily Maverick had claimed that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to get off the plane after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had sent a cabinet minister to receive PM Modi in Johannesburg for the BRICS summit. The report said that President Cyril Ramaphosa then sent his deputy and Deputy President Paul Shipokosa Mashatile at Waterkloof Air Force Base to receive PM Modi, and that Chinese President XI Jinping was received by Cyril Ramaphosa himself. However, the South African government had denied the reports.

The news site then claimed that since publishing the article, “Daily Maverick has been subjected to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.”

“Several hours ago, the site suddenly went down. We picked it up very quickly and started identifying a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. We investigated and found it was coming from a whole host of Indian servers,” said Daily Maverick’s security coordinator on X.

“Daily Maverick has been investigating ways to make the article accessible to India but the attack is so large, it’s proving difficult,” the website further added.

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Business

Iran to soon start power exchange with Russia: Energy Minister

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 Iranian Energy Minister Ali-Akbar Mehrabian has reportedly said that his country will soon begin electricity exchange with Russia through Azerbaijan.

Iran has considered two routes, one via Azerbaijan and the other via Armenia and Georgia, for electricity exchange with Russia, Mehrabian told Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), noting that Iran is holding the final negotiations for the start of the projects, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Azerbaijan route involves a less complicated process, as Iran and Azerbaijan have synchronised their power networks to the required extent, said the minister.

Iran and Russia can complement each other favourably by exporting their surplus of electricity mutually, as the latter’s electricity consumption peaks in winter while the former in summer, he added.

Mehrabian emphasised that Iran also seeks to connect its power grid to those of other regional states to ensure electricity supply sustainability throughout the year.

At present, Iran exchanges electricity with Iraq, Türkiye, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said, adding Iran is seeking to increase such transactions. 

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Business

Elon Musk May Have To Battle Mukesh Ambani For Bringing Starlink To India

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Elon Musk may be upbeat about fighting fellow tech tycoon Mark Zuckerberg in a cage, but he faces a challenge from an Indian billionaire before entering the market. The Indian government’s policy on import duty, which Musk wants it to modify, has already acted as a fence keeping Tesla out of the country.

Now the SpaceX founder and self-proclaimed fan of Prime Minister Modi seeks to change how India assigns satellite broadband licenses, but Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance disagrees.

Taking different paths

After his meeting with PM Modi, Musk also mentioned how he hopes to connect remote Indian villages to the world wide web, by beaming internet from Starlink satellites.

His firm wants the Indian government to follow the global trend and directly assign licenses, instead of an auction for allotment of the spectrum.

But Jio’s parent Reliance wants a public submission of bids, so that local telcos get a level playing field to compete with foreign firms that can offer voice and data services via satellites.

Will it disrupt duopoly?

Although neither Musk nor Ambani have directly engaged with each other, the battle to dominate the satellite broadband market in India, could put them on a collision course.

As Reliance Jio Space Tech has received clearance to provide broadband from space, its current rival Airtel One Web has already put 40 satellites in space, while it needs a constellation of 588.

On the other hand, Musk’s Starlink is available in almost 50 countries, but its entry into India was disrupted when its India head Sanjay Bhargava quit and later wrote that he didn’t have time for endless meetings to discuss regulations and procedures.

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