At least 65 people were killed and scores of others were wounded in an explosion in Quetta city, the provincial capital of Balochistan province of Pakistan.
According to the local media reports, the incident took place earlier today inside the Civil Hospital which came shortly after the killing of former president of Balochistan Bar Association Bilal Anwar Kasi.
Kasi was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Quetta earlier today and was brought to the hospital shortly before the blast took place.
There are also reports of sporadic gun fire following the explosion as a state of emergency has been declared in hospitals across Quetta and several injured are being shifted to these for treatment.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti confirmed the incident but did not provide further information, saying it was too early to determine the nature of the blast.
Balochistan has been experiencing incident violence and targeted killings since more than a decade, according to local Dawn News. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.
The largest province of the country by area, is home to a low-level insurgency by ethnic Baloch separatists. Al Qaeda-linked and sectarian militants also operate in the region.
“Many of my FB friends from Balochistan have lost either friends, family members, or relatives. We are a small city, and like a family. We have lost the entire city. Our devastation, loss, and pain is beyond belief. Besides the loss of our people, the devastating impact of Quetta’s horrifying suicide blast is trauma and fear. I know we have to be resilient, but the impact it already has had on families and the public in general is beyond repair,” says Aslam Kakar a young researcher from Quetta.
Matiuallah Tareen from Quetta told THE PASHTUN TIMES, “Everyone I contacted is in tears. Never a crying voice of my father before. My thoughts are with everyone in the city. I wish the blind folded state could open its eyes to reality in Quetta.”
“Utter despair and anguish! Have lost faith in the State institutions and our own capacity to make a difference, says Rafiullah Kakar, working at Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance (OSIRG) Fellow at Open Society Foundations. Commenting on the statement of COAS of Pakistan, Mr. Kakar added, “Even the loss of the province’s most precious lives could not convince the Pakistani military chief to see people of Balochistan as human beings first, worthy of some intrinsic rights and dignity. Raheel nd Co talk about us and with us only for some instrumental reasons. Even in this hour of grief, they are making senseless and untenable references to CPEC. They seem to be worried less about loss of lives and more about threats to CPEC. Or May they are just trying to create a smoke screen so that no one dares to ask for their accountability.”
Abdul Hai Kakar, a senior journalist from Quetta has said in his statement that Baluchistan is a place where cream of the crop is either missing or killed in bomb blasts and target killings.
THE PASHTUN TIMES