Disturbance Continues In Balochistan; Blasts Kill At Least 16 In Capital City Quetta

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New Delhi: At least 16 people were killed and 30 wounded in a bomb blast Friday at a fruit market in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta in Baluchistan. Mohsin Butt, provincial police chief for Balochistan, gave the death toll and said eight ethnic Shia Hazaras were among the victims, along with one security official and workers from the market.

The Hazara, whose Central Asian features make them easily recognisable, are a soft target for Sunni militants who consider them heretics.

Senior police official Abdul Razaq Cheema said the blast had taken place in the Hazarganji neighbourhood of Quetta, Balochistan’s capital.

Human flesh and blood was scattered around the site, with injured people screaming for help. A local police official who was posted at the fruit market and survived the bomb said the area had been packed at the time of the blast early in the morning.

During the early hours trucks arrive with vegetables brought in from outside the city, to be shifted by traders into smaller vehicles and delivered throughout Quetta.

“I was loading a small truck and I heard a huge bang and it seemed as if the earth beneath me had shaken and I fell down,” one labourer in his early 20s, Irfan Khan, said from a hospital in Quetta, where he was receiving treatment for minor injuries.

“The atmosphere was filled with black smoke and I could not see anything, I could hear people screaming for help and I was also screaming for help.”

He said the air was “filled with the stinging smell of burnt human flesh”. He lost consciousness, and awoke in hospital.

His injuries include shrapnel from ball bearings and pieces of metal, “but the doctors say I should be discharged very soon”, he said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

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