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Pakistan: 5 dead, 19 injured in Jaffer Express blast in Baluchistan

7th Oct 2016
Pakistan: 5 dead, 19 injured in Jaffer Express blast in Baluchistan

Express Tribune & AA:  At least five people were killed and 19 others injured on Friday when two bombs exploded near Rawalpindi-bound Jaffer Express in Machh area of Bolan district, Baluchistan. Earlier on Tuesday four Shia women were killed when assailants opened fire on a bus in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province.

“The train was travelling to Rawalpindi from Quetta,” Railway sources said.

An emergency has been declared across all state-run hospitals. The injured are being shifted to Quetta for treatment. 1o people seriously injured in the explosions have been taken to the city by Army Aviation helicopters.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri has ordered an inquiry into the incident. In a statement, he condemned the attack and ordered immediate treatment for the injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Earlier on tuesday eveningt least four Shia Muslim women were killed when assailants opened fire on a bus in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province.

The incident, the latest in a series of sectarian attacks, occurred in Quetta, the capital of the militancy-hit province, when assailants fired at a moving bus carrying around 40 passengers belonging to the minority Hazara-Shia Muslim community, Quetta’s Vice Mayor Yunus Baluch told reporters.

Four women, he said, were killed on the spot, while one person was injured in the gunfire coming from gunmen riding two motorbikes along a busy city road.

Baluch said despite the gunfire the driver kept the bus moving forward, saving perhaps dozens of lives.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but security forces suspect hardline Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is behind the incident.

A Sunni-majority country, Pakistan has a long history of sectarian violence, with thousands of Shias and Sunnis having been killed in tit-for-tat violence over the last three decades.

Baluchistan, which is the size of Italy, and rich in copper, zinc, and natural gas, has been beset by sectarian violence and a low-intensity separatist movement by secular Baluch militants who have been fighting for cessation from Pakistan.

The Hazara community, which originally belongs to northern Afghanistan, and whose members are easily identifiable due to their Mongol features, has been a prime target of sectarian violence in Quetta for over a decade.

Hundreds of Hazara-Shias, according to local media, have been killed in suicide bombings and targeted attacks in Quetta alone in the last 10 years.

Shia Muslims account for roughly 10 percent of Pakistan’s total population of some 180 million.
By Aamir Latif

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