- Monday’s explosion took place close to an event organized by the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ), a political party allegedly linked with a sectarian armed group.
- The attacker tried to enter a Sunni religious rally near a press club in Quetta and blew himself up as the police tried to stop him.
- Acts of terror by militants continue to target security forces as well as civilians despite frequent offensives by Pakistani army.
At least 10 people have been killed and dozens others injured in a suicide bombing in Pakistan. Abdul Razzaq Cheema, police chief in the city of Quetta, confirmed that two police officers are among the dead, adding that at least 30 people were injured. It is alleged that the young suicide bomber detonated his device near a police vehicle in southwestern Pakistan.
Home minister of the southwestern Balochistan province, Zia Langove, said that Monday’s explosion took place close to an event organized by the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ), a political party allegedly linked with a sectarian armed group.
The attacker tried to enter a Sunni religious rally near a press club in Quetta and blew himself up as the police tried to stop him. “As police were searching him, he detonated his vest,” Police chief Cheema said. Dozens of followers of the radical ASWJ party had gathered to honour Islam’s first caliph when the incident occurred.
A video on social media appeared to show the explosion ripping through the local bazaar, destroying shops and vehicles as people scampered for safety. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but separatist groups, and rival shia and Sunni militants operate locally and have staged similar attacks before.
“I was near the explosion when the blast took place, I ran this way and debris hit me on my back,” said a man who was wounded in the attack. “I ran away from there and I don’t know what happened after that. A sudden darkness came and I lost consciousness,” he added. A local hospital official has confirmed the casualties. “We have received 10 bodies so far and 35 injured in Civil Hospital,” the official said.
Late last month, at least five people were killed and many more injured in an attack by militants on a police office in Balochistan. The Pakistan Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. At least seven people, including five police men were again killed and several others were injured in a bomb blast that struck a police vehicle in the province.
In the same month, 13 people were killed in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanstan, when a mosque was targeted during the evening prayers. The province is rich in natural resources and is the center of the massive $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The violence has raised concerns about the security of the projects in the region.
Balochistan was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks late 2016, raising concerns about the presence of armed militants in the region, including terrorists linked to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. Baloch separatist groups and militants in the province have also engaged in a decade long campaign against the central government.
Acts of terror by militants continue to target security forces as well as civilians despite frequent offensives by Pakistani army.