Blast Outside Election Commission Office Rattles Karachi Ahead of Pakistan Polls
Blast Outside Election Commission Office Rattles Karachi Ahead of Pakistan Polls

A bomb explosion shook the area outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Karachi, raising concerns just days before the upcoming General Elections set for February 8. Reports from Pakistan Police indicated that the explosion occurred in the city's red zone area, with the bomb disposal squad rushing to the scene to assess the situation.

Initial investigations revealed that the explosive device was concealed within a shopping bag placed alongside the wall of the ECP office. Notably, no ball bearings were found within the explosive material, suggesting a different nature of the device.

Responding promptly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has initiated inquiries, demanding reports from the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) South and the District Monitoring Officer. Both officials have been instructed to provide immediate updates on the incident.

Despite the security challenges, the ECP affirmed that the scheduled elections on February 8 will proceed as planned. The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) released a report indicating that the explosion was caused by a 'homemade' bomb containing approximately 400 grams of explosives. The report also mentioned the discovery of a time device and a 12-volt battery at the blast site.

According to the BDS report, the detonator and approximately 400 grams of explosives were obliterated in the blast, contained within a soft container. Fortunately, there were no reported casualties from the explosion.

The incident comes at a critical time for Pakistan, with the country facing not only the upcoming elections but also the looming end of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout program. The election winner will be tasked with renegotiating a new agreement with the IMF, which is crucial for stabilizing Pakistan's economic outlook.

Pakistan's current IMF bailout program is set to expire in March 2024, just before the nation faces the repayment of $1 billion in dollar bonds the following month. Without a new funding agreement, Pakistan's financial stability could be at risk.

The root cause of Pakistan's economic challenges lies in its significant debt levels, amounting to nearly USD 125 billion owed to external creditors as of 2023, with a significant portion owed to China.

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