A wrecked vehicle at the site of the bomb blast in Quetta’s crowded market area. PHOTO: REUTERS
PESHAWAR / KARACHI / LAHORE / QUETTA:
On a day when Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif toured terror-ravaged Peshawar to review the security situation there, bombs went off in all four provincial capitals of the country, killing at least 12 people and injuring more than 70.
The most powerful and deadliest of these explosions took place in the restive Quetta city, where an improvised explosive device (IED) outside a police station killed at least eight people and injured 50 others.
The police station is located in the heart of the city at Liaquat Bazaar, the city’s commercial hub, which remains packed with shoppers, mostly women and children.
According to Commissioner Quetta Usman Gul, the terrorists had fitted a remote controlled IED to a bicycle and parked it near the main gate of city police station. “The bomb contained around five kilos of explosives,” he told reporters.
The blast was so powerful that it destroyed several vehicles, including a truck of Balochistan Constabulary, and shattered windowpanes of nearby buildings and shops.
“After the blast the whole area was covered in a thick black cloud,” Mohammed Akram, an eyewitness, told The Express Tribune.
A heavy contingent of police and security forces rushed to the spot soon after and threw a cordon around it. There was also a stampede soon after the explosion.
Edhi ambulances along with rescue workers rushed to the spot and shifted the dead and injured to Provincial Sandeman Hospital and Combined Military Hospital.
“Five bodies and 34 injured arrived at Sandeman Hospital, where an emergency was declared,” a hospital official said. Some of the injured were reported to be in serious condition.
“The target of the blast could be the police,” said a senior police officer Mohammed Jaffar. However no one had claimed responsibility for the blast till the filing of the report.
Blasts in Karachi
In Karachi three people, allegedly terrorists, were killed when a bomb went off apparently due to mishandling in the Orangi Town neighbourhood.
A senior police official Javed Alam Odho told The Express Tribune that the incident took place when a bomb being transported on a bike on an unpaved road exploded, tearing to pieces both the terrorist and his bike.
According to police, two of his aides, who were driving close behind him on another bike, were also hit by the shrapnel and pallets of the bomb and died immediately.
The police reached the spot and shifted the bodies to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
According to SSP West Irfanullah Baloch, the police found CNIC cards, SIMs and mobile phones on the scene. “Two of the terrorists have been identified as Asmat Ullah and Rafi Ullah.”
He said the bomb was placed in the chassis of the bike. “It weighed around five kilos and contained ball bearings and iron buttons.”
Blast in Lahore
In Lahore the terrorists once gain chose the Anarkali food street, where a blast ripped through a restaurant at around noon, killing one and injuring at least 16 others.
According to the restaurant owner, an unknown person had left a bag in the dining area prior to the blast. “A huge explosion took place only seconds after, shattering the glass windows and doors and damaging several buildings,” he said. The blast also left a one-foot deep and three-foot wide crater at the site.
The police cordoned off the street after the explosion and rescue teams ferried the victims to Mayo Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. All roads leading to the old Anarkali Bazaar were closed off and a manhunt was launched.
According to the District Coordination Officer Naseem Sadiq, three of the injured, including the shop owner’s son and a woman, were in critical condition.
A Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) man said the bomb was a timed device and weigh around one kilo.
According to a police official forensic evidence had been collected and it showed that ball bearings were used in the bomb.
Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab Khan Baig said no one had claimed responsibility for the explosion. “Only after initial investigations would the police be able to confirm as to who is behind the attack,” he said.
The police, however, had rounded up two suspects near the blast site and shifted them to an unknown destination.
Blast in Peshawar
In Peshawar three khasadar personnel on polio duty sustained injuries when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle on Ring Road on Thursday evening.
The police said around 18 khasadar force officials were in the vehicle en route from Akka Khel, Khyber Agency when the incident took place.
The injured were shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) where their condition was said to be stable.