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PM orders action as Taftan bombing death toll reaches 24

Updated Jun 09, 2014 08:00pm
Pakistani Shia Muslims march against the killing of Shia pilgrims during a protest in Quetta on June 9, 2014. – AFP Photo
Pakistani Shia Muslims march against the killing of Shia pilgrims during a protest in Quetta on June 9, 2014. – AFP Photo
Pakistan Army soldiers and a relative move a man who was injured in a suicide attack at a hotel in Taftan, located near Iranian border, after he was brought to Combined Military Hospital for treatment, in Quetta June 9, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Pakistan Army soldiers and a relative move a man who was injured in a suicide attack at a hotel in Taftan, located near Iranian border, after he was brought to Combined Military Hospital for treatment, in Quetta June 9, 2014. — Photo by Reuters

QUETTA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday ordered action against perpetrators behind the twin suicide attack which killed 24 Shia pilgrims in Taftan near the Pakistan-Iran border, officials said.

Sharif directed the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps to personally lead the operation against terrorists.

The bodies and injured were shifted in six army helicopters from Pak-Iran border Taftan to Quetta on Monday morning.

Akbar Hussain Durrani, the Home Secretary in Balochistan, said a C-130 plane arrived in Quetta to shift the bodies of the Shia pilgrims to Kohat from Quetta. “Around 40 heirs of the victims would also be shifted through the C-130,” he said.

Qambar Dashti, the Commissioner Quetta Division, said 14 of the total 18 injured persons were in critical condition.

The attack late Sunday night came when a bus carrying Shia pilgrims returning from a visit to holy Muslim sites in Iran stopped at a restaurant in Taftan, around 700 kilometres southwest of the provincial capital Quetta.

Durrani said ten buses carrying Shia pilgrims had entered Pakistan from Iran Sunday night. “When the buses were parked at two hotels, there were explosions,” Durrani said.

He said the blasts were followed by intense firing near the hotels. “We fear rise in casualties,” he added.

Frontier Corps and Levies personnel were called to bring the situation under control.

However, the spokesman for Frontier Corps, Khan Wasey, told Dawn.com that the forces killed the remaining two terrorists during the operation averting another terror act close to the hotel.

He said the forces were deployed in and around the hotel and sweeping was conducted in the area to avoid another attack.

A Sunni-militant group Jaishul Islam has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Militants have been attacking Shia pilgrims in Mastung and other parts of Balochistan for more than eight years.

Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai and Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch have strongly condemned the incidents and termed it a pre-planned conspiracy to destroy the peace of the province.

In their separate statements, they have directed law enforcement agencies to double their efforts to arrest the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks.