QUETTA/PESHAWAR/SWAT - Bomb attacks in different parts of the country wounded over two dozen people on Wednesday, raising security fears ahead of the historic general elections of May 11. The blasts in Quetta, Peshawar, Swat, DI Khan and Jacobabad created scare among the people as the militants have apparently become more active to derail the election campaign.

The first attack wounded 13 people near a Shia mosque and a private hospital in Balochistan’s capital Quetta, police said. In another blast near a police station, two policemen were injured. Two explosive devices planted alongside a road in Kalachi area of Peshawar in Sarki Gate area went off, injuring four people including a woman. The apparent target, PPP provincial assembly candidate Israr Khan narrowly escaped the attacks. However, one of the blasts damaged some houses.

A toy bomb explosion in Swat left six injured, including three women and a seven-month old child. The injured were shifted to the Madain Hospital, while the area’s police station filed a report for the case. Two bombs planted in Dera Ismail Khan on the route of the convoy of independent candidate Israr Ullah Gandapur exploded but no one was hurt as the caravan has already passed the spots. A bomb blast was also reported in Jacobabad district of Balochistan but no casualties were reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility of the attacks but TTP’s allied group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has been blamed for targeting Shia’s in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. The Taliban themselves have directly threatened the outgoing coalition government partners, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which are perceived as secular.

On Tuesday, a crude bomb targeting MQM roadside office killed at least three people and injured 30 others. The attack, which took place in the Buffer Zone area, prompted the closure of all roadside camp offices of the party. A strike – called by MQM against the bomb attack on party’s camp office – brought Karachi to a standstill on Wednesday as businesses remained closed.

The Bomb Disposal Squad foiled another attempt of terrorism on Wednesday in Kachagari area of Peshawar by defusing remote-controlled bomb planted under an intelligence official’s car. BDS official Abdul Haq said it was a four-kilogram magnetic sticky bomb. Peshawar has been the centre of terrorist activities recently and social and political leaders are calling for tougher action against the terrorists.

According to preliminary investigation, at least two kilograms of explosives was used in the bicycle bomb blast in the Satellite Town area of Quetta. Police shifted the injured to the Civil Hospital where the condition of two wounded was reported to be critical. Police official Fayaz Sumbal said the target of attack was unclear as the wounded were mainly bystanders. Police and Frontier Corps (FC) cordoned off the area and started their investigation.

There is a surge in the incidents of targeting elections candidates in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and other parts of the country to degrade the election process. The country goes to the polls on May 11 for an election that will mark the first time a civilian government has handed over power at the ballot box after completing a full term in office, in a country used to extended periods of military rule.

Meanwhile, unidentified miscreants blew up a 24-inch diameter gas pipeline with explosives in Rashidugun area of Larkana on Wednesday. Officials said that the gas supply had been suspended to Larkana and other areas. Sui Gas Regional Officer Ali Nawaz said that the repair work had been started.