Four individuals, including a police officer and three civilians, died in a suicide attack near a Balochistan Constabulary truck in Quetta’s Baleli area on Wednesday, officials said.
The media coordinator for the Balochistan Health Department, Dr Waseem Baig, confirmed the number of fatalities.
Speaking to Dawn.com, Dr Baig said 27 others, including 20 policemen and four civilians, were injured in the attack.
Quetta Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) Ghulam Azfar Mahesar told reporters at the site of the attack that the explosion took place near a police truck which was on its way to provide security to polio workers.
“Due to the impact [of the blast], the vehicle toppled and fell into a ditch,” he stated.
The official said that a total of three vehicles were hit in the blast — the police truck, a Suzuki Mehran and a Toyota Corolla. “Looking at the crime scene and given that the truck toppled, it is estimated that 25 kilogrammes of explosives were used [in the blast].”
Mahesar added that the wounded have been moved to the Civil Hospital Quetta.
The official later told AFP that the deceased civilians included a child and a woman. This was corroborated Dawn.com’s reporter at the scene.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Today’s blast comes a day after the militant group called off its ceasefire with the government and asked its combatants to carry out attacks across the country.
Earlier, Quetta Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Abdul Haq Umrani told Dawn.com that the blast site had been cordoned off and an investigation had begun.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo instructed authorities to provide the injured persons best treatment facilities.
He also promised that such “cowardly acts” would not dampen Balochistan’s determination to establish peace. “All the elements involved in the incident will be brought under the grip of the law,” Bizenjo added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the incident and directed authorities to initiate an investigation into the attack.
According to Radio Pakistan, the premier expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of life and prayed for the speedy recovery of the wounded.
He also said that polio workers across the country were fulfilling their responsibilities without caring about their lives. For this, he said, Pakistan pays tribute to their services.
“Eliminating polio virus from the country is amongst the top priorities of the government and we will not rest until polio is completely eradicated,” PM Shehbaz vowed, asserting that “evil elements” would always fail to harm the anti-polio campaign in the country.
In a statement issued by the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Arif Alvi condemned the attack and extended condolences to the bereaved families.
He said that children were Pakistan’s most valuable asset and the government was determined to protect them from diseases such as polio. “The State will not allow anti-social elements to interfere in the mission of complete eradication of polio,” he promised.
The president also paid tribute to the policemen and health officials working for the eradication of polio.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the “terrorist” attack was targetted at police officers, adding that a detailed report of the incident has been summoned by authorities in Balochistan.
Former premier and PTI chief Imran Khan also expressed deep grief on the attack and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured people.
PTI leader and former federal minister Asad Umar said that the Quetta blast was a reminder that the “brave sons of this nation are always ready to sacrifice their lives for our safety”.
“May God raise the ranks of the martyrs and heal the injured,” he added.