QUETTA/KARACHI: A blast in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Wednesday killed at least three people, including a senior police official, while injuring more than 20 others, confirmed officials while talking to Arab News.
CCTV footage of the explosion showed that it took place inside a crowded shop on Fatimah Jinnah Road in Quetta where a police van was also parked nearby.
“Three people have died in the blast while 24 others are injured,” Dr. Waseem Baig, media coordinator of the Balochistan health department, told Arab News, adding that two of the three deceased had been identified.
“One of the deceased is Ajmal Sadozai, a deputy superintendent of police, while the other is Ali Muhammad,” he added. “Four injured people are in critical condition.”
Briefing the media on the site of the blast, a senior police official maintained the attack was possibly an attempt to target law enforcement personnel covering the urban areas of the province.
“A bomb disposal team has confirmed that explosive material weighing about two and a half kilograms was used in the blast that happened inside the shop,” deputy inspector general of police Fida Hassan said.
Many shops and vehicles near the site of the incident were damaged due to the intensity of the explosion.
“There are reports that the shop was owned by a member of the Hazara community,” he added. “There was also a brawl and gunfire before the explosion.”
Balochistan is a sparsely populated province that has intermittently witnessed low-intensity insurgency for decades. The government has launched full-scale military operations as well as targeted interventions to quell the violence.
So far, no insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
However, Baloch insurgent outfits launched coordinated attacks on Frontier Corps camps in Panjgur and Naushki earlier this month that lasted for several hours.
A political member of the ruling Balochistan Awami Party was also targeted and killed in a magnetic bomb attack last week in Hub near Karachi.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo strongly condemned Wednesday’s attack and directed the authorities to take strict action against insurgents targeting security forces and innocent civilians.