Suicide blast kills at least 84 in Pakistan
Updated: 2013-02-18 09:15
ISLAMABAD -- Death toll rose to 84 in the Saturday's suicide bombing that targeted a busy market in Pakistan's southwestern provincial capital of Quetta, the official said.
Hospital sources and police on Sunday confirmed the number of causalities adding that at least 173 were also injured including women and children in the suicide explosion that targeted the market at the Karani road in the Hazara town, an area dominated by the Shia Muslims.
Fire rages from destroyed houses at the blast site in southwest Pakistan's Quetta on Feb 16, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in Balochistan province, Wazir Khan told media that the powerful explosives were fitted in the hidden cavities of a tanker, which was driven to the busy market in the evening when people were busy in their routine shopping.
The suicide bomber exploded the tanker-bomb that killed at least 63 people on the spot and injured around 200 others besides causing a heavy loss of property in the market.
Soon after the incident, police, security forces and rescue teams rushed to the site but angry people of the Shia Hazara Community cordoned off the area and did not allow any of them to enter and started rescue work by themselves.
The raged people chanted slogans and pelted stones at the security personnel saying that the government machinery had failed to provide them with adequate security as they were targeted dozens of time in Quetta over the last two years in which hundreds of people lost their lives.
Later on, high officials of the government intervened in the situation through negotiations that convinced protesters to allow rescue teams to carry on operations at the affected site.
All the bodies and the injured were shifted to three hospitals of the city including Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) where 21 of the injured succumbed to their injuries over the night increasing death toll to 84 including 15 women.
According to the official sources, at least 20 critically wounded people would be airlifted to the southern port city of Karachi by an army plane for better medical services.
The bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) told media that around 1,000kg of explosives was used in the explosion, the biggest bomb ever exploded in the history of the country that left 12 feet deep and six feet wide crater at the ground.
The explosion destroyed dozens of vehicles and four nearby markets completely including a two-story building comprising over 40 shops that was leveled to the ground.
Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen and Hazara Democratic Party, the groups representing Shia community announced three-day mourning and countrywide protest over the incident.
Shia clerics and scholars and tens of thousands of other people staged sit-in across the country on Sunday expressing solidarity with the victims and demanding prompt actions to arrest the culprits behind the massacre.
The Balochistan government observed an official mourning across the province over the mass-killings on Sunday as the national flag was hoisted at half-mast at all state-owned buildings in the province.
Local media reported that spokesman of an anti-Shia banned militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Balochistan governor Zulfiqar Magsi visited the injured and admitted his own failure. However, Magsi added that he was trying his best to bring peace back to the province besides announcing one million rupees ($10,000 dollars) cash compensation for each of the deceased person's family.
President Asif Ali Zardari and prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf strongly condemned the incident, which ended with the loss of precious lives and property.
In their separate messages, both the leaders directed the authorities to provide the best medical services to the injured.
This is the second major bomb attack that targeted the Shia Muslims in Quetta since the beginning of this year. Earlier on January 10, at least 106 people were killed and over 150 got injured when a suicide attack followed by a car bomb blast targeted the Hazara community in the city.
63 killed, 180 injured in sectarian attack in SW Pakistan