• ASI, woman and her two children martyred near Quetta
• 24 injured as bomber smashes rickshaw into police truck
• DIG says 25kg explosives used in suicide jacket
QUETTA: At least four people were killed and 24 others injured on Wednesday in a suicide attack on a police truck in Baleli area, some 15 kilometres from the provincial capital, on the Quetta-Chaman national highway. A policeman was among those who lost their lives in the incident.
A suicide bomber travelling in a rickshaw targeted the truck carrying police contingent for the security of polio workers who were administering vaccines during an ongoing campaign in Kuchlak and other areas of Quetta district.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the incident and confirmed it was a suicide attack. The attack comes a couple of days after the militant group called off its ceasefire with the government and asked its combatants to carry out attacks across the country.
Police officials said the truck was on its way to Kuchlak to drop the police contingent for the security of polio workers. When it reached the Kuchlak bypass in Baleli, a rickshaw collided with the vehicle, resulting in a huge blast that killed two people on the spot and injured 26 others.
Police and Frontier Corps personnel immediately rushed to the site and after cordoning off the area, shifted the injured to the civil hospital. Health Secretary Saleh Muhammad Nasar imposed an emergency in the civil and Bolan Medical College hospitals.
“It was a suicide attack in which the police truck was targeted by a bomber who was wearing a suicide jacket,” Deputy Inspector General of Police retired Capt Ghulam Azfar Mehsar said, adding the Bomb Disposal Squad examined the site and collected evidence. “Around 25 kilograms of explosive material was used in the suicide jacket, which detonated as the bomber collided with police truck.”
Police officials quoting witness said the suicide bomber reached Kuchlak bypass in a rickshaw and after chasing the truck detonated his jacket as he got close to the target. As a result of the huge blast, the truck overturned and at least three cars and a rickshaw were badly damaged. The civilians who were killed and injured in the blast were passing by the police truck in their cars. Some nearby houses and roadside shops were also damaged.
“We received two bodies and 26 injured in the trauma centre of the civil hospital,” Dr Wasim Baig, spokesman for the provincial Sandeman Hospital told Dawn, adding that later two of the injured, who were children, succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.
The four victims were identified as Zainab Bibi, her children -- eight-month-old Imran and seven-year-old Adnan Ahmed – and assistant sub-inspector Muhammad Ibrahim. The injured included 20 policemen and three civilians, who were the family members of the deceased woman.
Sources said the woman, who was burnt to death, was on her way to Lahore for a wedding along with her family when the blast occurred. “She died along with her eight-month-old and seven-year-old sons,” they said, adding three of her remaining children and husband were injured.
Balochistan acting governor Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Home Minister Ziaullah Langove, the CM’s adviser Bushra Rind and Planning and Development Minister Noor Muhammad Dummar condemned the suicide attack on the police contingent and expressed grief over the martyrdom of innocent people and injuries to police personnel and civilians.
They vowed that the elements involved would be brought to justice. The chief minister directed the hospital authorities to provide best medical treatment to all the injured.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022