QUETTA, April 23: At least six people, including a Frontier Corps man, were killed and over 45 others injured in a suicide car bomb blast and three other explosions that rocked the Balochistan capital on Tuesday evening.
The banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack. A spokesman for the group, Abubakar Siddiq, called local reporters and said it had carried out the attack.
The Hazara Democratic Party’s chairman, Abdul Khaliq Hazara, had a narrow escape as he was passing through the area after addressing an election corner meeting when the blast took place.
“A suicide bomber riding an explosives-laden car detonated the vehicle in Nichari area when a soldier of the Frontier Corps stopped it and started searching it,” Col Maqbool of the FC told Dawn.
The soldier was killed in the powerful explosion, he added.
Police said the bomber was driving the car towards Alamdar Road, probably to carry out an attack on members of the Hazara community, but he detonated the vehicle when the FC soldier flagged it down.
“As a result of powerful explosion that was heard across the city, six people, including the FC man, were killed and 37 others, four children among them, were injured,” Quetta police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood said.
A majority of people in the Alamdar and Marriabad areas belong to the Hazara Shia community. Over 100 people were killed on Jan 10 in a suicide blast reportedly carried out through an ambulance at a snooker club on Alamdar Road.
Mr Zubair said investigation was under way to ascertain how the explosive-laden car had reached the area despite tight security arrangements.
The explosion damaged more than 10 houses and shops. “The election office of Sehr Gul, a candidate of the PML-Nawaz, is also in the same area,” police said.
The FC post was also damaged.
Police and FC personnel took the bodies and the injured to the Sandeman Civil Hospital and the Combined Military Hospital.
“The FC soldier and two other people were killed on the spot and three others died in the CMH,” police said.
Hospital sources said at least 10 injured people were in a critical condition.
According to the bomb disposal squad, 80-100kgs of explosives had been used in the explosion.
Earlier in the day, three bomb blasts were reported in Jinnah Town, Gwalmandi and Gordat Singh Road areas.
Five people were injured in Gwalmandi and one on the Gordat Singh Road.
Police said improvised explosive devices had been used in the three blasts. Rescue teams rushed to the places and took the injured to hospitals. Some of the severely injured were referred to the CMH.
Law enforcement personnel cordoned off various areas and launched a search operation after the attacks.
Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Barozai condemned the blasts.
The caretaker chief minister also visited the CMH and inquired after the health of the injured.
He announced that the provincial government would bear the expenditure on their treatment.