QUETTA: At least 13 people were killed and 30 others injured, six among them seriously, when a bomb placed in a car parked near the house of a former minister of state on Arbab Karam Road exploded on Friday evening.
The proscribed Balochistan Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The powerful blast was heard far and wide. It smashed windows of several buildings.
At least six vehicles parked in the area and 10 nearby houses caught fire after the explosion and were destroyed.
“Unknown men put the explosive material into a vehicle and parked it near the house of former state minister Mir Naseer Mengal,” DIG Operation Nazir Ahmed Kurd said, adding that the explosion occurred at around 7pm.
He said 13 people had been killed and another 30 injured who were in hospitals.
Intelligence sources put the number of the dead at 15. Seven of the dead are said to be the guards of Shafique Mengal, son of Naseer Mengal.
Security officials were of the view that Shafique Mengal might have been the target of the attack.
DIG Investigation Hamid Shakeel told Dawn that about 40-50kg of explosive material had been used for the blast.
He said that explosive material had also been planted in another vehicle, parked near the house, adding that the bomb disposal squad defused it.
The injured were taken to the Bolan Medical College hospital and Civil Hospital.
According to doctors, six of the injured were in critical condition. Some of the injured were identified as Abdul Qudoos, Qadeer Mola Bakhsh, Gul Muhammad, Muhammad Rafeeq, Abdul, Khalid Khan, Karam Khan, Abdul Hameed, Faisal Khan, Dost Muhammad, Musawwar Khan, Abdullah Khan, Amanullah, Afzal Khan, Lal Muhammad, Javed Ahmed, Abdul Rasheed, Fazal Kareem, Muhammad Yunus and Abdul Kareem.
According to sources, Shafique Mengal had returned to Quetta from his native Khuzdar district about an hour before the blast and was in the house.
His guards started firing in the air after the blast. They allegedly manhandled some journalists who were there to cover the incident.
Law-enforcement personnel cordoned off the area and started investigation.
Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani condemned the blast and ordered an immediate inquiry.
Claiming responsibility for the attack, BLA spokesman Meerik Baloch told reporters on phone that it was a suicide attack carried out by Darwaish Baloch who he said was a member of their Majeed Shaheed Brigade.
AFP adds: Police said the majority of the dead were passersby making it even harder to piece together what happened.
“We are facing difficulties to know about the nature of the blast because many of the witnesses who were present at the scene have been killed,” said DIG Kurd.