QUETTA: A man was killed and 13 others were wounded in a bomb explosion in a shoe market near busy Meezan Chowk here on Tuesday, police said.

They said deceased Abdul Hussain and some wounded belonged to the Shia Hazara community.

Police officials said that the suspected attackers visited the Jinnah Shoe Market posing as customers and purchased a pair of shoes from a shop. A few minutes later there was a powerful blast.

“The suspects after purchasing a pair of shoes asked the shopkeeper to look after their shoes and a bag while they did their Eid shopping. They told the sho­p­keeper they would return after a short while. The suspects left the shop and minutes later an explosion occurred,” said SSP operations Behram Mando­khail, who had spoken to eyewitnesses about the incident.

As a result of the powerful explosion, one shopkee­per from the Hazara community was killed on the spot while 13 other shopkeepers were injured, a few of them seriously, the SSP said.

“The roof of the shop, where the blast occurred, was shattered and around a dozen shops were damaged,” said police officer Mandokhail, adding that after the blast a fire broke out in the shop.

Police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel rushed to the site after the blast along with rescue workers and the fire brigade who brought the flames under control.

“We received one body and 13 injured in the hospital,” said Dr Saleem Abro, medical superintendent of the Civil Hospital Quetta. The body of the man who lost his life in the blast was in several pieces, he said.

Hospital sources said the condition of at least two injured persons was critical.

According to the bomb disposal squad, the bomb used in the blast was an improvised explosive device (IED).

Quetta DIG Abdul Razzaq Cheema and Quetta FC Sector Commander Brigadier Tasawar Sattar visited the explosion site.

DIG Cheema while talking to newsmen said that a majority of the victims belonged to the Shia Hazara community but said people from other communities were also injured in the blast.

“I don’t think Hazara community has been specifically targeted [in the blast] because many people belonging to other communities were among the injured,” he said.

This is the second blast in the vicinity. The previous one took place last week in front of the City Police Station, near another market, claiming six lives and injuring 30.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2019