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Pakistan: Death toll rises to 53 in Quetta bomb blast

8th Aug 2016
Pakistan: Death toll rises to 53 in Quetta bomb blast

QUETTA, (The News, Dawn): The Quetta Civil Hospital was rocked by a bomb blast followed by firing, which claimed the lives of fifty-three people and injured multiple on Monday.

Eyewitnesses stated that scores of lawyers were injured due to the blast. A stampede ensued after the blast took place, causing anarchy and chaos everywhere. A couple of minutes before the blast had taken place, the dead body of Bilal Anwar Kasi, the Balochistan Bar Association President who had been killed earlier in a firing incident.

More than 50 mourners were entering the emergency department of the hospital, accompanying Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi’s body, when the bomb went off, Faridullah, a journalist who was at the scene, told Reuters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sources claimed that among the dead, mostly were lawyers since several had been present inside the hospital when the blast had taken place.

Hospital sources put the number of injured at more than thirty-five. The blast took place at the external gate of the Emergency Department of the hospital. A heavy contingent of police arrived on the scene and sealed the area. Rescue teams arrived to assist the injured and shift them to another hospital for medical treatment. Emergency was imposed across all hospitals in Quetta.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the bomb blast and also the murder of Bilal Anwar Kasi. He directed the provincial government to arrest the culprits behind the attacks immediately and bring them to book.

“No one will be allowed to disturb the peace of the province,” said Nawaz Sharif in a statement. “The people, policy and security forces in Balochistan have given sacrifices for the country,” he added. PM Nawaz also issued orders for the injured to be provided the best medical treatment.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the bomb blast and expressed his grief at the loss of life in Quetta. Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan also condemned the incident. Chief Minister of Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri also called for providing the injured with best medical facilities.

Former Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik termed it as the ‘blackest day’ in the history of Balochistan.

One cameraman belonging to a private news channel also died in the blast while another cameraman belonging to another private news channel was critically injured. Former Balochistan Bar President Baz Muhammad Kakar also died in the incident, according to former president of the Supreme Court Bar.

Lawyers have been targeted several times in the last few months in Balochistan.
A lawyer, Jahanzeb Alvi, was shot dead by unknown armed men in the Brewery road area last week on Aug 3.

Advocate Bilal Kasi, who himself was shot dead today, had strongly condemned the murder of Advocate Alvi and announced two days’ boycott of courts proceedings.

The principal of University of Balochistan’s law college, Barrister Amanullah Achakzai, was also shot dead by unknown assailants on Spini Road here in June.

Balochistan has been experiencing incident violence and targeted killings since more than a decade. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.

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