By Muhammad Luqman
At least 20 people were killed and another 48 injured in a blast in South-Western Pakistan town of Quetta on Friday.
The attack claimed the lives of nine persons belonging to Hazara community and one Frontier Corps (FC) soldier who was deputed for the community’s security, said Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema. The 10 others who lost their lives included shopkeepers, businessmen and citizens working or residing in the area, English newspaper, Daily Dawn reported.
DIG Cheema, who was present at the site of the attack, said the blast targeted the Hazara ethnic community.
“The attack took place in a [green grocer’s] shop. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was planted in a gunny sack filled with potatoes. Whether it was timed or remote-controlled, our experts will tell. Right now they are investigating,” DIG Cheema told media men at the site of the attack.
However, Home Minister Ziaullah Langove, who held a press conference later in the day, said that the blast was not targeting “a specific community”.
“Our guess is that no specific community was targeted. Marri Baloch and FC personnel were among those killed as well. The numbers of the Hazara community were just greater,” Langove said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned “the terrorist attack” and sought “an immediate inquiry and increased security for the [targeted] people”.
Qadir Nayil, a Hazara community leader, asked the government for provision of better protection.
“Once again our people were the target and once again we will have to bury our dear ones,” he said.
“We demand more security from the government and all those involved in today’s act of terrorism should be found and punished.”
In another blast in Chaman, the town on the border with Afghanistan, one person was killed and several injured.
Following the blast incidents, a high-level meeting took place with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal in the chair to review the security situation in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan province.
It was decided in the meeting that the affected families will be given immediate financial assistance and that the provincial government will bear the treatment cost of those injured.
Balochistan government has also decided that closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be immediately installed at the Hazarganji market and other public places. Action on terrorists’ hideouts and against their leaders will also be boosted, the caucus affirmed.