QUETTA: A blast in a local bus killed at least 10 people, two of them children, on Sariab road here on Monday. Twenty-two people were injured, six of them seriously.
The bus was going to Sariab mills area in the outskirts of Quetta, carrying 35 to 40 passengers from the city bus terminal when the blast took place near an overhead bridge.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch condemned the blast and said, “I am personally monitoring the situation.”
Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti said: “Ten people have been killed and 22 injured in the blast. The death toll could rise because some of the injured have suffered serious wounds.”
He rejected rumours that there were pilgrims in the bus. It was a terrorist attack on innocent people returning to their homes, he added.
Two children among 10 killed; minister says it was not a sectarian attack
The minister also dispelled a perception that it was a sectarian attack and said adequate security arrangements had been made for the safety of Muharram’s observance.
“Strict action will be taken to bring culprits responsible for this barbarian act to book,” Mr Bugti said.
“We will not give up until eliminating the last terrorist.” The entire nation, he said, was united against terrorists.
Police said the dead included two brothers. According to rescue workers, some of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
Official sources said the crowded bus had left the terminal at around 8.45pm and when it reached near Dokani Baba Chowk area the powerful blast took place.
“Eight people, who were on the roof of the bus, died on the spot,” SP operations Abdul Waheed Khattak said, adding that most of the victims were on the roof of the bus.
He said the bomb planted on the roof was detonated by a time device. The bomb had five to six kg of explosives, he added.
The powerful explosion heard in the entire provincial capital caused panic among people. Several nearby shops were destroyed while windowpanes of many buildings in Sariab road area were smashed.
Mr Khattak said the target of the blast was yet to be ascertained. “We are investigating,” he said, adding that all the victims were common people.
Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani, along with DIG Quetta Imtiaz Shah and contingents of police and Frontier Corps personnel, rushed to the site of the blast. Law-enforcement personnel took the dead and the injured to hospital.
“I saw flames and thick plumes of smoke after the blast. People were crying for help,” eyewitness Shahzad Alam said.
Security was beefed up in and around the city after the blast, with contingents of FC and police patrolling different areas.
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2015