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At least 93 lives lost in Quetta explosions


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Debris and mangled vehicles are seen at the site of a bomb explosion in Quetta on January 10, 2013. — Photo by AFP

QUETTA: As many as 81 people were killed and 121 injured in suicide and car bomb blasts in Quetta’s Alamdar Road area on Thursday night.

Earlier in the afternoon, 12 people lost their lives when a bomb went off near a vehicle of the Frontier Corps at Bacha Khan Chowk.

A cameraman and a reporter of a private news channel, a computer operator of a news agency and nine police personnel, including two senior police officers, were among the dead, while 10 army and FC personnel were injured in the blasts.

A majority of the people killed in the Alamdar Road blasts belonged to the Hazara Shia community.

The banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

“Eighty-one people have been killed and 120 injured, including 10 army and FC personnel, in two blasts,” Hamid Shakeel, Deputy Inspector General of Police, told Dawn.

The death toll might go up because the condition of several injured people was serious, he added.

Police sources said that the first blast took place in a snooker club on Alamdar Road when people were busy playing the game. Several people were killed or injured in the blast. “A man entered the snooker club and a powerful blast took place,” they said, adding that it appeared to be a suicide attack.

Police, workers of Edhi Trust and media teams rushed to the place soon after the first blast and started taking the injured to hospital.

A second blast took place 10 minutes after the first blast outside the snooker club when a large number of people, police and rescue workers gathered there. A majority of people were killed and injured in the second blast.

Five police personnel, including a senior police officer, and three media men also lost their lives in the second blast. Reporter Saifullah Baloch and cameraman Imran Shaikh belonged to Samaa TV, while computer operator Mohammad Iqbal worked for NNI.

Some other media men, who reached the site to cover the first blast, were also injured in the second explosion.

Imran Shaikh was the third Samaa cameraman to have lost his life in the line of duty. Earlier, Ejaz Ahmed Raisani and Malik Arif had been killed in bomb blasts.

Police said that an explosive-laden car parked at the roadside was used in the second explosion. Both the blasts shook the entire provincial capital.

“The building which housed the snooker club was destroyed completely, while over 50 shops and nearby houses were badly damaged,” eyewitness Khalil Ahmed said.

Two rescue workers were also killed in the blast, he added.

Soon after the second blast, power supply was disrupted in the area as wires snapped. “Bodies littered a large area,” another eyewitness Banaras Khan told Dawn, adding that several media men were missing. A DSNG of Geo TV was damaged in the second explosion. A cameraman received injuries while other staffers remained unhurt.

Rescue workers and security personnel faced difficulty in collecting bodies and in shifting the injured to hospital.

An emergency was declared at Civil Hospital and the Combined Military Hospital. Most of the injured and bodies were brought to CMH. The condition of at least 10 of the injured was stated to be critical.

“The death toll might increase,” hospital officials expressed fears.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Lashkar-i-Jhangvi told media from an unknown place that his organisation had carried out the two explosions.

Capital City Police Officer Zubair Mehmood confirmed at a press conference the killing of 81 people and injuring of 121 in the two blasts.

“A doomsday scenario was at the blast site. Bodies were lying everywhere.”

Mr Mehmood said that nine police officials had lost their lives.

Earlier in the afternoon, at least 12 people, including an FC soldier and a child, were killed and over 60 injured in a bomb blast before the night-time carnage shook the city.

The bomb was planted close to a parked vehicle of Frontier Corps at the crowded Bacha Khan Chowk. The blast rocked the entire city Several other FC men were injured in the blast, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told Dawn, adding that the condition of at least five people was serious.

Among the injured were two women and three children.

Frontier Corps officials confirmed that one soldier had been killed and 10 others injured in the blast. “We have lost one soldier in the blast and another is in critical condition,” a spokesman said.

An Afghan national, who hailed from Spin-Boldak, a border district of Afghanistan, was also killed in the blast.

The banned United Baloch Army has claimed responsibility for the blast. Its spokesman Mureed Baloch told newsmen that the blast was in revenge for Mashkay, Awaran and Bolan operations launched by FC.

The area where the blast took place is a populated and busy commercial junction where thousands of people come for shopping and doing business in Baldia Plaza.

“Thousands of people were busy shopping and in doing business in Baldia Plaza and in the Bacha Khan Chowk when the blast took place,” said eyewitness Mehmood Khan, who owns a shop in the area.

Police sources said that the bomb planted with a time device in a bag close to the FC vehicle went off at 3.10 pm, killing at least 10 people on the spot and injuring over 60.

Police and FC personnel cordoned off the place and took the bodies and the injured to Civil Hospital, where an emergency had been declared.

Two injured, including the FC soldier, died in hospital as they had received multiple wounds.

“The target of the bomb blast was the vehicle carrying FC men and a checkpost in the area,” said Capital City Police Officer Zubair Mehmood.

He told reporters that it was a time device. “We have collected evidence from the site and investigation is in progress,” he said.

Bomb disposal squad personnel said that 20 to 25 kg of explosives had been used in the blast.

Hospital sources said that 11 bodies and over 40 injured were brought to the Civil Hospital. Some of the injured had been shifted to CMH, Quetta. “We are trying to save lives of seriously injured people,” hospital officials said.

Most of the people killed in the blast were vendors and shopkeepers selling old clothes, rings, soup and other edible items outside Baldia Plaza.

Two Naib Tehsildars, who came from the Taunsa town of Rajanpur district in Punjab, were also killed.

Eight of the 12 dead were identified as Naib Tehsildars Ghulam Sarwar Qaisrani and Inayatullah, Mazuddin, Ziaul Haq, Fazal Ahmed, Sher Ali, Akhtar Mohammad and Tamour Shah.A man selling fruits on a pushcart had reportedly seen a white bag near the FC vehicle and informed the paramilitary force’s personnel before the bomb exploded. However, he remained safe, sources said.

The FC vehicle and about a dozen other cars and motorcycles were destroyed in the blast. About two dozen shops were damaged while windowpanes of several buildings and offices in Baldia plaza were smashed.

In 2004, an army truck was hit by a cycle bomb, killing 12 people, including security personnel.

In Sept 2010, a suicide bomber claimed over 30 lives during an Al Quds rally at Bacha Khan Chowk.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Comments (34) Closed

brizmohan Jan 11, 2013 06:51pm
It is a sad commentary on the affairs of Pakistan as a nation being reduced to a killing cricket field where the batsmen (anti-human elements) are having a scoring spree by the tons each day, while the bowlers(govt.) and the fielders(army) are clueless at these mindless hitting
manomoni Jan 11, 2013 09:13am
Unless armed forces and government take stringent action action against banned militant groups there is no future for monorities in the country. Pictures are soul stirring..Let us pray for the departed souls..
Wajeeh Jan 11, 2013 03:40am
no words :(
Rahul Gupta Jan 11, 2013 04:08am
This is terrible. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pakistani people.
Hasnain Jan 11, 2013 04:32am
This is nearing genocide. Is there anything that we can do to make the authorities wake up and take action?
suleman Jan 11, 2013 04:32am
We don't cry like we should, but let's as a nation make it a point to at least to talk about these issues for more than one day...
AC1960 Jan 11, 2013 08:09am
Until we as a nation decide what we want and then go for it honesty, nothing will change. Nothing is being done seriously to eradicate these terrorists.
Bipul Jan 11, 2013 08:07am
Pakistan can ignore such small incidents and focus on India.
Bangla Bondhu Jan 11, 2013 08:02am
Your intelligence agencies are unable to stop the bombing and you curse Bangladesh and India for not playing cricket in your you expect somebody to come in your country when the situation is like is high time to curb the antisocial elements rather than differentiating between good one and bad one.
Sudhakar Jan 11, 2013 06:56am
Very unfortunate incident. Pakistan should search for root cause of these incidents. In my opinion, religion can't be a factor to form/unite a country because every religion has sects/casts and the domination of one sect/cast over others will lead to these kind of incidents.
Mazhar Jan 11, 2013 06:45am
is this Islamic Republic where innocent lives are lost daily ......
JairAM Jan 11, 2013 06:38am
Do not what to say after seeing the gory pictures, but please let the Shias live!!! There is no religion in the world that justifies what was done.
Nini Jan 11, 2013 02:21am
My suggestion to Pakistan is to explode a nuclear bomb between pakistan and afganistan and kill everyone. The Country has lost the meaning of Islam.
Adil Jadoon Jan 11, 2013 02:26am
When is this government going to get serious about security of the people. This is a shame and if nothing happens now we are all doomed.
Faqi Jan 11, 2013 06:24am
May the departed rest in peace! Don't have enough words to condemn this.
Ali Jan 11, 2013 06:27am
"The banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the blasts." Does the ban mean anything to these terrorists?. Banned by who? And banned for and from what? A banned group can play a havoc like this than what is it that the active group can not do. Pakistan, a banana republic is a ripe case for a revolution, provided they have any revolutionaries amongst them or is it just day dreaming.
BIMAL CHANDRA JHA Jan 11, 2013 05:53am
Sir, I do not understand what the terrorists or militants will achieve by taking innocent lives anywhere in the world. I am sure Islam does not us to kill an innocent person. Unfortunately suicide bombers have been brainwashed. They have been told that will achieve heaven by taking innocents particularly of minorities. Such teachings must be condemned by the saner elements of the society.My sympathies are with the family members of those who have been killed or wounded in Quetta attack. Yours faithfully; BIMAL CHANDRA JHA Samanpura Road, Patna, India
chandra Jan 11, 2013 05:52am
So Sad. Common man is always at the receiving end. My God give enough strenght to the victims kins.
Hindu Jan 11, 2013 07:27am
Let their be peace,harmony and prosperity.We are all brothers and same in front of god.
Sucheta Jan 11, 2013 05:15am
May their souls rest in peace. We can only hope that someday bombers like these will realize that what they do in name of religion is against all the religions including Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.
Owais Jan 11, 2013 04:59am
Its time to unviel the master mind country(ies) which are behind such brutal attacks. We have lost so many lives of our beloved country people, now enough its enough.
DT Jan 11, 2013 04:55am
Killing of innocent people is most uncivilised and barbaric. It must be condemned by all .
ND Jan 11, 2013 04:50am
It is unfortunate to see and hear frequently about Shia Killings in Pakistan. The Chief Justice can only take suo moto actions on individual killings of VIPs and the missing terrorists . . . . Why do they forget the verdict of Quran that killing of a single innocent human means killing the entire humanity. This will not end until the major religeous parties of all sects stand unite against the menace of terrorism. But the Question is WILL THEY???????
Maryam Jan 11, 2013 04:46am
RIP :(, this is the least thing I can do for you people.
jerry Jan 11, 2013 03:14am
There is no peace in middle east .
Dhaemaraj (India) Jan 11, 2013 03:04am
This incident is very unfortunate. Now time to learn lesson for what you people called establishment, that violence will lead you nowhere..
bittertruth Jan 11, 2013 03:01am
Waiting for the same Pakistanis who raise a major hue and cry about muslims suffering elsewhere in the world, to raise a hue and cry about this and other targeted attacks like this happening every other day in Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular. Wonder how people can be so selectively apathetic, and be blind to all the horrible stuff happening in their own backyard while whining about the cruelty of others. If only we had half as many 'anti- pakistani minorities' killing rallies as anti-israel and anti-america rallies. All links shared on social networks, all rallies, all protests, everything is reserved for the suffering of non-pakistani muslims.
Nixcy Jan 11, 2013 07:32am
Whats wrong with ppl, why cant they live peacefully? What is establishment doing? why is govt/army getting caught in communities? Govt and Army do your duty, and see this would never happen again. Think of ppl who has some basic expectations from u.
SMA Jan 11, 2013 07:15am
It's the failure of intelligence agencies, or whether they ignored such kind of terrorist attacks, People belongs to the government even not trying to take any action against such barbarian people, even they are not belong to the humanitarian group. What's going on in the country I really don't understand, if its a democracy then dictatorship is much better.
shaheen Jan 11, 2013 07:07am
Why is our reactive Judiciary silent on the merciless killing of Shi'as in Pakistan?
so sad Jan 11, 2013 07:50am
I hope culprits are caught soon and suffer the most terrible, painful punishment for their crimes! Inshallah!
Raza Jan 11, 2013 10:29pm
I love what you wrote. We are brothers and should love each other - irrespective of religion, nationality, race and creed!! If only mankind can learn this!!!
Raza Jan 11, 2013 10:34pm
Ali, this ban is a farce played by our government. These banned outfits easily change their name and our authorities then give them a new garb of legitimacy. Now they can continue their carnage under a new name and the same old mindset. They can easily surface and even appear in TV shows as respectable "mullahs". Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat <== Lej <== Laskar-e-Jhangvi In any other country these terrorists will be either in jail or totally eliminated. They exist because of the connivance of our authorities. Baluchistan government is the worst case in point.
FORBIDDEN.... Jan 12, 2013 04:22am
its continuing failure of inteeligence agencies nd armed forces... who cnt protect their people