QUETTA, Nov 2: Two police officials and an alleged terrorist were killed and seven people were injured when a pick-up exploded in front of the Central Police Office here on Thursday afternoon.
Police had foiled another attack two hours earlier, seizing a high explosive device with a timer planted in a small scooter parked in front of a shop in the crowded Liaquat Bazaar.
“Terrorists wanted to the pick-up to explode in the city,” Balochistan police chief Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqub told Dawn. He said the alleged terrorist who was driving the vehicle was named Ghulam Abbas of Toghi Road area. He said police had traced the vehicle’s owner through its number-plate.
According to an eyewitness account, the powerful explosion occurred as the red Suzuki pick-up coming from police lines side reached the Mission Road roundabout in front of the Central Police Office, killing the three people on the spot and injuring seven others. The vehicle caught fire after the explosion and its parts were seen flying in the air.
A traffic police constable who was on duty in front of the police office and a head-constable who was passing through the area died in the blast. They were identified as Malik Mohammad Yousuf and Mohammad Shabir Abbasi.
“The bodies were mutilated in the blast,” a witness said.
Police found the head and other body parts of the alleged terrorist at place about 500 metres from the site of the blast.
The blast was heard in the entire provincial capital, causing panic.
Police took the injured to the Civil Hospital, where four of them, including three policemen, were admitted while three others with minor injuries were allowed to go home.
“A strong explosive device had been planted in the vehicle with a pencil timer. It exploded before its due time,” an official of the bomb disposal squad said. He said 15kg of explosives had been used in the blast and pieces of the timer had been found at the site.
Earlier, police found in Liaquat Bazaar a small scooter fitted with an explosive device parked in front of a shop. An unknown person had parked the scooter and left the scene.
The owner of the shop informed police about the suspicious scooter and police defused the device. “It was a 15kg explosive device planted with timer,” City SSP Qazi Abdul Wahid said.
“We cannot rule out involvement of Afghans and other militants in the blast,” the provincial police chief told reporters, adding that police were investigating all aspects. “We are also keeping in view the Bajaur incident,” he said.
He did not agree with a suggestion that the police office was the target of the blast, saying that the vehicle was moving towards Mission Road.
He said involvement of those elements could also not be ruled out who did not want to see peace in Balochistan.
He said police had collected some evidence from the blast site, include the SIM of a mobile phone and an identity card.