Quetta- The capital of Balochistan once again soaked with blood of innocent people and this time again it was Hazaras which came under the despicable attack.
At least 73 people hailing from this Shia minority community were killed while more than 180 others seriously wounded in the massive blast on Saturday atKirani Roadnear Hazara Town of Quetta.
The deadly bombing comes after 36 days of Governor Rule in Balochistan that was imposed followingAlamdar Road’s twin bombings on Jan 10 inQuettawhich had claimed more than 100 lives of Hazara people.
Quetta CCOP Mir Zubair confirmed 63 deaths and put the number of wounded at 180. But later reports suggested that 10 more of the wounded had died, taking up the toll to 73.
Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, who was given the reins of power with the primary objective of restoring law and order in the province, called it a “failure of intelligence”.
The CCOP said that explosives were planted with a tractor tanker parked near a building, adding that it was yet to be ascertained whether it was a suicide blast or remote controlled blast.
Later, banned outfit Lashkar Jhangvi (LJ) claimed responsibility for the bombing. Calling to media offices, LJ spokesman Abu Bakar Sidiq claimed that it was a suicide attack and was carried out by one Umar Farooq.
The blast occurred when the people were busy in purchasing daily items at a market. DIG Operation Wazir Khan Nasir said that the blast was carried out through a remote controlled device and about 800 to 1000 kilogramme explosive material was used in it.
The blast was so powerful that it made the entire city to tremble as the thud was heard as far as 5 kilometres from the site. A plaza was ruined. More than two dozen other shops, 25 vehicles and rickshaws were also badly damaged. Windowpanes of dozens of houses were scattered.
Police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel reached the site and cordoned off the area. Emergency was declared at Bolan Medical Complex Hospital (BMCH) and Civil Hospital Quetta. Initially the deceased and injured were taken to BMCH but later those seriously injured were shifted toCombinedMilitaryHospital.
Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi condemned the blast and directed for security beef-up.
A government official said that a meeting headed by the governor decided to observe province wide mourning on Sunday, announced 10 million reword for those who would inform about the terrorists, and Rs1 million compensation for the each victim family.
Heavy firing started after the blast in the locality, forcing the people to run towards their homes and shopkeepers closed down their shops and markets. Hundreds of Hazara protesters blocked Brewery Road in protest and pelted stones on civilian and police vehicles and smashed their windowpanes. Security personnel barred media persons for coverage owing to security reasons.
Hazara Democratic Party, Majlis Wadat-e- Muslimeen (MWM) and Tahafuz Hazadari Council (THC) strongly condemned the killings. MWM announced shutter down on Sunday (today) while Tahfuz Hazadari Council announced 7-day mourning.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 17-Feb-2013