QUETTA:(APS)August 8, 2016- A suicide bomber targeted the emergency services ward at Quetta’s Civil Hospital Monday, killing at least 70 people and leaving scores injured.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), has claimed responsibility for the bombing which occurred at the gates of the building housing the emergency ward.
The bomber struck soon after dozens of lawyers gathered at the hospital following the killing of the Balochistan Bar Association President, who was shot dead this morning.
“The bomber had strapped some eight kilograms of explosives packed with ball bearings and shrapnel on his body,” bomb disposal unit chief Abdul Razzaq said.
“The blast took place after a number of lawyers and some journalists had gathered at the hospital following the death of the president of the Balochistan Bar Association in a separate shooting incident this morning,” said Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Harifal.
The bomber struck as more than 100 mourners, mostly lawyers and journalists, crowded into the emergency department to accompany the body of Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi, Faridullah, a journalist who was among the wounded, told Reuters.
Condemning the attack, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri told local TV channel Geo News that Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was behind terror incidents in Quetta.
The CM shared this statement with the media before initial investigations into the blast were completed, and before the nature of the blast was confirmed.
Abdul Rehman, the director at the Civil Hospital, said the bombing killed 70 people, mostly lawyers. He said they were also treating 92 wounded in the explosion.
According to senior police official Zahoor Ahmed Afridi several lawyers including the former president of Balochistan Bar Association Baz Mohammad Kakar were injured.
Journalists present at the premises also came in the line of fire and a cameraman for Dawn News, Mahmood Khan, who was severely injured in the explosion, later passed away. Shehzad Khan, a cameraman associated with Aaj TV, was killed in the blast.
An emergency was declared in hospitals across Quetta and several injured were shifted to other hospitals for treatment.
“This was a security lapse,” Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said, adding that he was personally investigating the attack. He said the hospital had not received any threats in the past.
Following the blast in Quetta, Inspector General (IG) police A.D. Khawaja issued a high security alert across Sindh.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast in Quetta and expressed his “deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives” in the attack.
“No one will be allowed to disturb the peace in the province that has been restored thanks to the countless sacrifices by the security forces, police and the people of Balochistan,” he said in a statement.