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Volunteers move an injured blast victim to a hospital in Pakistan. (Photo: Reuters) 

A bomb exploded next to a convoy of the deputy chairman of the Pakistan Senate yesterday in the violence-plagued province of Baluchistan, killing at least 25 people, officials said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group’s Amaq news agency said a bomber wearing an explosive vest carried out the attack.

At least 35 people were wounded in the blast near the town of Mastung, 50 km (30 miles) from the provincial capital of Quetta. Television footage showed a vehicle mangled by the blast.

Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the deputy chairman of the upper house of parliament, told Reuters minutes after the explosion he believed he was the target and he had sustained minor injuries.

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“There are many casualties as there were many people in the convoy,” he said by telephone. Haideri is a member of Jamiat e Ulema Islam, a right-wing Sunni Islamist political party that is part of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s coalition government.

District health official Sher Ahmed Satakzai said the death toll had risen to 25 and 10 were in critical condition in hospital.

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Security in Pakistan has improved since a crackdown on militancy began in 2014, but a fresh wave of attacks that left more than 100 people dead in February has increased pressure on Sharif’s government. Mastung police official Ghazanfar Ali Shah said the convoy appeared to have been hit by a suicide bomber, adding Haideri’s driver was killed.

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