70 dead, 112 injured in attack on Quetta hospital
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Seventy people including protesting lawyers were killed and more than 110 others wounded in a suicide bombing inside the main hospital in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Monday.
Followed by gunfire, the explosion rocked the Quetta Civil Hospital, where lawyers had gathered after Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi was gunned down by unidentified assailants.
Both Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar and Islamic State -- also known as Daesh -- claimed responsibility for the attack, which drew strong condemnation from the UN chief and Pakistan’s political and military leaders.
“The toll stands at 70 dead and 112 injured,” Director-General Health Dr Masood Nausherwani told reporters in Quetta. Paramilitary and police personnel cordoned the hospital after the blast.
Coming after the killing of Kasi near Mengal Chowk, the suicide attack apparently targeted protesting lawyers, who thronged the hospital, said Anwarul Haq Kakar, a spokesperson for the provincial government. “It was a pre-planned attack.”
Aaj TV photojournalist Shehzad Ahmed and a Dawn News cameraman were also killed in the blast at the gate to the Emergency Ward. Nearly of the wounded were evacuated to Karachi hospitals.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff Gen,. Raheel Sharif visited the hospital and inquired after the injured. They ordered the authorities to provide the best medical care to the admitted.
“The COAS visited Balochistan High Court and offered condolences to chief justice Balochistan and the panel of judges,” Director General Inter-Service Public Relations Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa tweeted,
"No one will be allowed to disturb the peace of the province," PM Sharif said in a statement. "The people, police and security forces have given sacrifices for the country," he added. ]
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri alleged the attack was the handiwork of Indian spy service, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). “I have \evidence of RAW’s involvement which I will share with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the foreign ministry,” he told a private TV channel.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing, saying it was “particularly appalling” that the suicide attack targeted a group of mourners. “The targeting of mourners makes the attack particularly appalling.”
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