At least 17 people, including 12 police officers, and two anti-polio campaign workers, have died and at least injured in a bomb blast in Quetta Satellite Town. The bomb targeted the head unit of anti-polio campaign office.

“Among those dead, there are 12 police, one paramilitary, and two civilians,” a local police official told AFP.

Eyewitnesses said they heard firing as well after the blast. 

According to Waqt News, the bomb was believed to be remote controlled. The claim was later refuted by security sources. 

Rescue teams have reached the site and the injured are being shifted to a nearby hospital. Two of the injured are reportedly in critical condition. Emergency has been called in Civil Hospital, Quetta.

FC has cordoned off the area, with the investigation underway.

Talking to the media, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said, “We are living in a war zone and I can‘t say anything about the nature of the blast.”

The blast, he confirmed, was carried out by a suicide bomber. 

"We will not bow down before terrorists," said Bugti, adding that the blast was an effort to disrupt peace in the province.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Quetta Syed Imtiaz Shah said seven to eight kilogram explosives were used in the blast. He said most of the victims were policemen, who had laid down their lives to guard polio workers.

Dr Rasheed Jamali said that at least five critically injured victims were shifted to Combined Military Hospital Quetta.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri directed the police to submit a report about the incident promptly.

"We cannot tolerate the terrorism," he said in a statement issued soon after the explosion.

Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the blast and expressed grief over loss of lives.

The Prime Minister, in a statement, said that the government was committed to stamp out extremism from the country and the operation against terrorism would continue till its complete elimination.

He said Pakistan Army had destroyed hideouts of terrorists and was now engaged to eliminate terrorists.

Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have also condemned the blast and directed the authorities concerned to provide all best medical facilities to the injured.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and leaders of different political parties including PTI chief Imran Khan, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and, Jamaat-i-Islami Amir Sirajul Haq have expressed sympathies with the families of the victims.

Pakistan is on WHO's list of polio-endemic countries. 49 cases of polio were reported in Pakistan, which was a significant decline from 282 the previous year. 

The anti-polio campaigns have been threatened by Islamist militant groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its umbrella organisations in recent years. TTP and its affiliates claim the usage of anti-polio vaccinations to be un-Islamic, which has resulted in many terror attacks on personnel associated with the campaigns.