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Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb blast near a polio vaccination centre in Quetta on January 13, 2016.—AFP
Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb blast near a polio vaccination centre in Quetta on January 13, 2016.—AFP

QUETTA: At least 14 people were killed and over 10 injured in an explosion near a polio centre in Quetta's Satellite Town on Wednesday, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the attack on Facebook and in an email sent to journalists.

"The blast was apparently carried out by a suicide bomber," Bugti said, speaking to media after the blast.

Thirteen of the dead are policemen while one of them is an FC official, he said.

Thirteen of the dead are policemen while one of them is an FC official.—DawnNews Thirteen of the dead are policemen while one of them is an FC official.—DawnNews

"We will not bow down before terrorists," said Bugti, adding that the blast was an effort to disrupt peace in Balochistan.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Quetta Syed Imtiaz Shah said seven to eight kilogramme of explosives were used in the blast. He said most of the victims were policemen who laid down their lives to guard polio workers.

An intelligence officer who declined to be named confirmed to DawnNews that it was a suicide attack.

"Body pieces of the suicide bomber have been collected by security agencies to initiate a probe into the incident," said the official.

The casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta, where an emergency has been imposed.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti speaks to media after the blast.—DawnNews Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti speaks to media after the blast.—DawnNews

Dr Rasheed Jamali, a senior doctor told DawnNews that at least five critically injured victims were shifted to Combined Military Hospital Quetta for treatment.

Eyewitnesses at the site said they heard firing after a loud blast rocked the area. The glass windows of nearby buildings shattered due to intensity of the blast.

Police and rescue workers reached the site soon after the blast, while security forces have cordoned off the area. The nature of the blast is unknown as yet.

Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri while strongly condemning the blast directed police to submit a report about the incident promptly.

"We cannot tolerate the terrorism," he said in a statement issued to press soon after the explosion.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast in Quetta.

In his statement, the premier said government is committed to stamp out extremism from the country and operation will continue till elimination of all terrorism, reported Radio Pakistan.

Polio campaign temporarily suspended

The casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta.—Photo by author The casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta.—Photo by author

Today is the third day of a three-day anti-polio campaign which was launched in Quetta and other districts of Balochistan on Monday. The campaign in Quetta was temporarily suspended following the blast.

Dr. Saif ur Rehman, the head of the Emergency Operation Cell Balochistan said the polio campaign in Quetta was relaunched in Satellite Town and other parts of Quetta on Wednesday afternoon. It will continue for one more day.

"Such terror acts cannot deter our resolve to wipe out polio", he told DawnNews by telephone.

The campaign is to target 2.4 million children under the age of five. Over 55,000 children of Afghan refugees are to be immunised under the campaign.

Polio teams were being dispatched from the polio centre targeted today in the blast, security sources said.

Pakistan remains one of only two countries on the World Health Organisation's (WHO) list of polio-endemic countries.

Polio workers have long been targeted in the country due to rumours that the polio immunisation drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims. The rumours have made inhabitants of lesser-developed parts of the country more wary of allowing immunisation.

Comments (66) Closed

haider Jan 13, 2016 09:51am

why would someone target medical teams?

Hashim Jan 13, 2016 09:57am

Truly sad

SHAH Jan 13, 2016 10:02am

Radical strike again.

Muffaddal Kapasi Jan 13, 2016 10:05am

I just don't understand what is the problem with the polio team. They are working for the betterment of the children so why are they in target ?

lmk Jan 13, 2016 10:13am

Heart goes to the families of all those who lost their lives in this barbarous attack. Our security forces are full of anonymous very brave people, risking their lives daily to protect threatened institutions from such mad people. I salute them all for such bravery and patriotism. Dawn ought to write more about their families, their broken lives, to bring a touch of humanity to the senseless killings, more awareness to civil society of the horrific losses each time these madmen do what they do....

khan Jan 13, 2016 10:14am

our security agencies should look these matter as crimes not just ignored them and blame them on Taliban. they should deeply interrogate these things. i dont think any pakistani or muslim can even think of killing innocent people on daily basis.

Bitter Gourd Jan 13, 2016 10:15am

Oh my God! These sleeper cells are now a bigger threat than their FATA based command and control center. Now this shows that we have to fight this war for at least next 10 years relentlessly to eliminate their sleeper cells. These sleeper cells were not established overnight. It was the result of lack of will on the part of General Kayani in taking actions against the menace of terrorism. His leadership gave enough time to the terrorists to expand terror network in every nook and corner of the country.

I believe our intelligence agencies will have to work really very hard to eliminate these sleeper cells that are causing this mayhem.

Ravee Jan 13, 2016 10:18am

Very sad. Human beings have to re learn humanity. No body has right to take life of other. World marching towards stonage.

sid Jan 13, 2016 10:22am

Indians sincerely hope that their Pakistani friends soon realize there are no good terrorists. Join hands with India to eliminate this menace from South Asia. Terror is going to engulf entire central asia, we should be careful.Like it or not, Pakistan will become the first line of defense for South Asia against terror. Is that not enough reason to cooperate and join hands with India against terror?

amarjit Jan 13, 2016 10:30am

13 Policemen died out of 14 obviously they were targeted security forces not civilians! RIP!

Pakistan need to step up now against all kind of terrorism like complete washout no one should be spared.

Amused Audience Jan 13, 2016 10:33am

Ignorance at its height! It was very much expected and authorities failed to take foolproof measures.

This blast must trigger a powerful retaliatory response by the country in form of intensification of polio immunization drive in Baluchistan. That is, in my opinion, the befitting response to the terrorists.

analyses Jan 13, 2016 10:35am

That's because Taliban and other radical outlets believe that giving polio drops to children is a 'conspiracy' of the West against them. Polio drops make our children impotent and also have a great impact on their minds as well by making them more 'liberal' and 'westernized' when they grow up.

Yes, this is the extent of Taliban's (and their followers and sympathizers) stupidity and illiteracy.

-Manu USA Jan 13, 2016 10:36am

I feel sorry for the dead. Any one killing innocents is not a human, but worst than animal. I wish speedy recovery for the injured. Whoever caused this pain can't live in peace anywhere.

Chandra Jan 13, 2016 10:36am

Hope people stop empty condemnation and we see coments that have solutions -- it's become a routine now solution is - security and sensibility prevails when there is equality ... Govt should try promoting that .. Job creation should be the focus as empty minds are Devils workshops !!

ali Jan 13, 2016 10:49am

sad news

Rajeev Jan 13, 2016 10:57am

Can any friend in Pakistan educate me as to why terrorists are against polio vaccination?

Udai Singh Jan 13, 2016 10:57am

@Muffaddal Kapasi Please read last para of the news " Polio workers have long been targeted in the country due to rumours that the polio immunisation drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims. " So this is the problem.

Muhammad Jan 13, 2016 10:58am

OMG .. Rest In peace ..

Luke Francis Jan 13, 2016 10:59am

Seems like the target were the police and not the medical staff.....Wonder why ???

Ahmed USA Jan 13, 2016 11:10am

OMG... Prayers for everyone's safety...

AKB Jan 13, 2016 11:10am

The process of peace is being sabotaged by those who want the continuation of war. Shame on the perpetrators.

Rehaman Jan 13, 2016 11:16am

these idiots wont change...

Hassan Jan 13, 2016 11:17am

Something is really wrong at the core in the beliefs of people. It seems a never ending story. some serious and strict measures need to be taken!

Adnan Aziz Jan 13, 2016 11:23am

Who said terrorism is over in Pakistan?

Mahmood Jan 13, 2016 11:24am

Horrible indeed.

Unfortunately, by tomorrow, most of us will move on and forget this. It has become a routine. The people have become numb to senseless violence, loss of dozens, indeed hundreds of lives in on fell swoop, and simply take it for granted. The politicians are even worse. Those who pretend to offer leadership, and seek people's votes, promising them security and the world, don't even bother to utter a word of condemnation, much less sympathize with the victims, hardly ever visit the site of the attack, or console the survivors and their families.

On the contrary, the blast in Istanbul yesterday is being talked about repeatedly on many international channels, made headlines in many Western newspapers and public has expressed shock. At least it was closer to Europe, and most casualties were Germans.

Compare that to the attacks in Paris. The world was up in arms in condemnation., Solidarity with the French was unprecedented.

Simply put, Muslim lives don't matter!!!?

Shahid Mustafa Jan 13, 2016 11:53am

very bad, dua & pray shahodha

Ashok Jan 13, 2016 12:03pm

@Rajeev Polio workers have long been targeted in the country due to rumours that the polio immunisation drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy

Lost cause Jan 13, 2016 12:11pm

What a waste of life. Totally insane

R K HASTIR (India ) Jan 13, 2016 12:16pm


Factual Jan 13, 2016 12:31pm

@Rajeev Polio teams are targeted to challenge writ of government and bring embarrassment to security forces. It is not really about superstitions. It is about attacking a symbol that associates with government of Pakistan and humiliate Pakistan at international stage. Polio workers also make for easy target, unfortunately.

Azmeen Jan 13, 2016 12:36pm

totally insane.

Naimat ullah Jan 13, 2016 12:43pm

being Pakistani it is our duty to take care our society and govt must take strict action against terrorists.

Lafanga Jan 13, 2016 12:52pm

We all know who these terrorists are, where they come from and who supports them. I don't need to mention names. Take the gloves off and clean it up with heavy force. We must not let Baluchistan fall the way it happened in 1971 East Pakistan.

zakir proud indian Jan 13, 2016 01:06pm

Pakistan appoints policemen for polio workers is itself unique to the world & prevails its image.Now action on every kind of terrorists is required for Pakistan for smooth functionig of economic corridor & development of its people.Sooner they understand & act better for everyone. .....

Asif Jan 13, 2016 01:08pm

Yeah "we wiill not bow down before terrorists."

Pakistani Jan 13, 2016 01:15pm

Two incidences with similarity 10 days back attack on Indian consulate and Air base, today attack on Pakistani consulate and FC what a co-incident. Message is very clear and we know who done that.

Qtejf Jan 13, 2016 01:29pm

Only Animals Target Medical Staffs. And medical teams.

Harmony-2 Jan 13, 2016 01:35pm

@Lafanga if you know the persons and their promoters then you are a valuable commodity because Pakistani authorities will be glad to nab such people. Please help them otherwise never play with conspiracy theories which you are used to play. You may come into serious trouble if you hide all the names you know

Muhammad Arshad Jan 13, 2016 01:40pm

Such a sad news.

Kashmiri talking bluntly Jan 13, 2016 01:51pm

RIP innocent souls.. Unless majority of common people and leadership clearly Not support extremists in any form, this self created problem due to inequalities affecting common people in many different ways will not end.. Even the comment section here where educated Pakistanis comment provides insight on the way the nation thinks...I hope Pakistan get good leadership team to provide positive and progressive thoughts soon.

Raja hindustani Jan 13, 2016 02:09pm

@Ahmed USA oh yes, how sad.I hope these are not conducted to divert attention from indo pak talks

AKKS Jan 13, 2016 02:12pm

@Lafanga Come out with the names if you know who is responsible. This will help intelligence agencies investigate the incident. If this is just a blame without 'concrete evidence' then you are inviting trouble!

ak khan Jan 13, 2016 02:34pm

hopefully this operation zarbeazab will get rid of all those terrorists which is becoming a menace not only to our country but for the whole region

haris Jan 13, 2016 02:35pm

@amarjit : the security officials died are those who were guarding the polio workers. In our view, the main targets were polio health workers.

haris Jan 13, 2016 02:39pm

@Udai Singh : I think it has nothing to do with the "Sterilizing of Children " propaganda. The terrorists are themselves well-educated in researching if the polio vaccine is sterilized or not. The main objective is to disrupt the peace and cause constant fear among the people and the nation.

AIZ Jan 13, 2016 03:10pm

Heart broken...

Philosopher (from Japan) Jan 13, 2016 03:26pm

Very sad news indeed. RIP.

khuwaja Jan 13, 2016 03:48pm

People who are asking why polio team is targetted. Read the article again, last para.

lafanga Jan 13, 2016 03:48pm

@Harmony-2 @AKKS

You wanted me to elaborate. Well now you have it. TTP claimed responsibility. TTP leadership is hiding in Afghanistan under protection of NDS and NDS sings Indian tunes. Any questions?

Naxalite Jan 13, 2016 04:09pm

No Suicide Blast since long in country and when it happened, it coincided with Pak's Afghan Embassy's Attack. Must be a bigger game going on!

khan Jan 13, 2016 04:33pm

why not the council of Islamic ideology make statement that polio drops are halal!!!!!! be of some use these people

sbk Jan 13, 2016 04:37pm

@lafanga , One question, What has India got to do with Taliban?

muhammad Arslan Jan 13, 2016 04:47pm

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said any “individual or organisation” harming the country “should also receive the pain of such activities” and “how, when and where should be your choice”. plz keep it in mind. i think indian agencies back this incident.

medic Pak Jan 13, 2016 04:48pm

Oh GOD...seriously..haven't we been through enough of this bloodshed.. these stupid taliban think & propagandized against polio vaccines & say that polio vaccines transmit viruses that survive in body fluids for eg: STDs & HIV. they have never tried to prove their hypothesis nor they can. majority of pakistan's population is polio vaccinated & type of diseases mentioned above are also rare here (so there's no relation b/w both things) but they still stick to what they say bcz they want to destroy us by however means possible.

sbk Jan 13, 2016 05:57pm

Just like ISIS is headache to Middle East, Taliban has become headache to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reality Bites Jan 13, 2016 06:18pm

Pakistan needs to counter the propaganda and mindset of these religious extremists. Media, mosques, schools, parents must spread the truth.

Vaccination is not a conspiracy.

rolland Jan 13, 2016 06:35pm

Sir: Yet another mindless killing. My condolences for the dead and prayers for a speedy for the wounded. I cannot understand the logic and reasoning behind killing polio immunization workers. Does this mean that these extremists want children to grow up disabled by Polio? How will they cope with life? The terrorists are motivated by uncivilized, inhuman philosophies and must be eliminated from the world. Rolland

Arun-KS Jan 13, 2016 08:33pm

There are only few countries in the world which are not yet free from Polio. Pakistan is one of them. One more thing, if there is a single person left with Polio in the country, Polio cannot be eradicated from its root. It means Afghanistan can infect Pakistan, Pakistan can do the same thing to India and vice-versa. This knowledge should be shared with one and all, as Polio programme is benificial to kids of terrorists and there relatives too.

lafanga Jan 13, 2016 08:42pm

@sbk Read my comment again please. TTP is hiding in Afghanistan which is supported by NDS which is supported by India.


Alam Jan 13, 2016 09:17pm

This blast has nothing to do with polio campaign. Announcement of Afghan peace talks and start of work on various projects of CPEC have caused excelleration of terror attacks in Pakistan. Mardan attack was not on polio team. Ashraf Ghani should realise who is playing dirty game of destruction in Afghanistan.

ihavenoname Jan 13, 2016 09:21pm

@amarjit agreed!

Good Point Jan 13, 2016 09:23pm

@Mahmood Every life matters. And such incidents are sad. But sane people should take a lead and isolate bad elements, their ideology and condemn use of voilence anywhere.

Philosopher (from Japan) Jan 13, 2016 09:59pm

Why IK doesn't give awareness about polio in these areas. His silence speaks loudly. Isn't???

Shah Jan 14, 2016 12:56am

These ignorant cowards will keep committing these heinous crime. We have to defeat their resolve and this is a continuous struggle.

Mahendra Singh Jan 14, 2016 01:08am

Horrifying! Children are children, they need to be healthy!!

angel Jan 14, 2016 07:08am

@Philosopher (from Japan) dont' know him or what he's silent about. double talk doesn't work.