PM takes notice of firing incidents; MWM, HDP announce three days of mourning
QUETTA, Oct 23 (INP): JUI (F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had a narrow escape as a suicide bomber detonated explosives near his vehicle outside a political rally in Quetta on Thursday. In all the provincial capital was the target of three acts of terrorism on Thursday in which at least 13 people were killed and more than three dozens injured.
According to details, at least two people were killed and 15 others injured when a suspected suicide bomber detonated his explosives as the JUI (F) rally ended at the Sadiq Shaheed Stadium and Maulana Fazlur Rehman boarded his vehicle. The vehicle of the Maulana, which was bullet proof was damaged but the JUI(F) leader remained unhurt.
The blast occurred outside the rally venue where thousands of JUI-F supporters had gathered. After the blast the gates of the stadium were shut to avoid further losses.
Speaking to a private TV channel, the JUI-F chief said that the blast targeted his vehicle as he was departing from the venue of the rally. He said that he and his colleagues survived the attack as they were riding in a bomb-proof vehicle.
Emergency and security teams reached the blast site and began shifting the casualties to Civil Hospital for treatment. This was not the first time that the leader of the religious party has been targeted by terrorists. Rehman has had two previous attempts made against his life in March 2011, when two back to back suicide attacks targeted him.
The blast on Thursday was the third incident of terrorism of the day in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province which is plagued by a nationalist insurgency and extremist militancy. Earlier today, militants gunned down nine members of the ethnic Hazara community in Hazar Ganji area of the city.
At least two other people were also killed in a separate gun-and-bomb attack on security forces near Qambrani road earlier in the day. According to Police, the Hazara victims after purchasing fruits and vegetables at Hazarganji were coming back to their destination in a vehicle when unidentified armed men opened fire at them, killing nine people and inuring six others. All the victims belonged to Hazara Community.
The victims were shifted to Combined Military Hospital Quetta for medical and legal requirements where a large number of people had gathered. Imran Qureshi, a senior police officer told media persons that the armed men opened fire at a Mazda bus and killed eight members of the Hazara community. “The assailants sprayed bullets over the bus and managed to escape unhurt from the spot,” Qureshi said.
“This is an act of targeted killing,” he said. Panic prevailed among locals after the killings. The predominantly Shia community whose members stand out on account of their Central Asian features has come under increasing attacks by extremist groups such as the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ). Estimates provided by Tahir Hussain Khan, president of the Balochistan chapter of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan(HRCP), earlier show that the violence has driven as many as 200,000 Hazaras to relocate to other major cities of Pakistan or move abroad.
Security forces have cordoned off the area and started investigation into the incident. Hazar Democratic Party and other Shia Community organizations have announced three days mourning against the deadly incident. In a statement issued by the HDP, the party lashed out at the provincial government and law enforcement agencies over their failure to protect Hazaras Shias in the city.
“Under a pre-planned conspiracy, our people are being targeted,” the statement said. The Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) has also announced three days of mourning over today’s killings. It has moreover criticised the government and law enforcement agencies for their failure to protect citizens. The Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai and the Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch have strongly condemned the incident. The Chief Minister in his statement said that the incident aimed to sabotage the peace of the city. He also directed the police to submit a report of the incident.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken strict notice of firing incident on bus in Hazarganji, Quetta. He directed the Secretary Interior to remain in contact with all security agencies till the culprits are apprehended. Nawaz Sharif also directed to immediately report if the incident took place due to any security breach. Meanwhile two people were killed and 12 were injured in an explosion that took place on Quetta’s Qambrani road on Thursday. Unidentified gunmen opened fire in the area following the explosion which was heard far and wide.
The target of the attack was said to be a vehicle of the Frontier Corps (FC). According to eye witnesses and rescue workers, the powerful blast rocked the entire Qambrani road and surrounding areas. “We could see thick black smoke from quite a distance,” Fateh Muhammad, an eye-witness said.
Police and paramilitary troops were called in the area to bring the situation under control. “The bomb was planted on a motorcycle,” Imran Qureshi, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sariab said. The blast was followed by intense firing and panic spread in the area and, people were confined to their homes and shops. This was not the first incident of violence on the perilous Qambrani road of the provincial capital. Militants in recent days have intensified attacks against security forces and national installations in Balochistan, plagued by an insurgency and growing sectarian