GILGIT: A bomb hit a passenger van on Gilgit-Skardu road on Thursday, leaving at least three people dead and 10 others injured.

Police sources said the van was heading for Haramosh valley, a predominantly Shia area some 40km from Gilgit city, when it was hit by the bomb near Alam bridge.

Van driver M. Aqil, Mushtaq and Syed Sabir were killed on the spot, the sources said. Those injured were two-year-old Safina, Zainab, Bintul Huda, Umrana, Sidrah Zahra, Shama, Essa Khan, Naveed Hussain, Mazhar and Sulaiman.

The powerful bomb triggered by remote control destroyed the van.

The sources said the injured and the bodies were moved to the district hospital in Gilgit. They said the condition of the injured persons was stable.

Experts of bomb disposal squad were dispatched to the area to investigate the incident.

The Shia Ulema Council has announced a three-day mourning period in protest against the bomb attack.

AFP adds: “The incident occurred near Haramosh village on Gilgit-Skardu road when a passenger van was hit by a roadside bomb blast,” Zain Muhammad, a police official in Gilgit, said.

He said that all the passengers belonged to Shia community. “It’s a sectarian attack, the passenger van was going to Haramosh which is a completely Shia-populated valley,” he said.

“It was a roadside bomb blast, but we are trying to confirm whether it was triggered by a timer device or remote control device,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2014