There is no respite for Balochistan’s capital.
At least 14 people, including two policemen and a woman, were killed and 30 others were injured in what is believed to be a suicide attack on a bus carrying pilgrims returning from Iran on Thursday.
Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai told The Express Tribune that the attack was a suicide blast and the suicide bomber was in a private car which hit the bus in the Hazar Ganji area of Quetta.
“At least 14 people were killed and 30 others sustained injuries,” Bazai said.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack. The banned outfit’s spokesperson Abdu Bakar said the attack was carried out by Ziaur Rahman Farooqi and was in revenge for attacks on a madrassa and tablighi centre.
According to sources, the bus was carrying 50 passengers and was on its way from Taftan, a border town between Iran and Pakistan, when it was hit by a car from the opposite direction.
“Two police mobiles were providing security to the bus,” sources said, adding that a majority of the Zaireen (pilgrims) belonged to the Hazara community.
The bus and the police mobile vans were completely destroyed in the attack.
“Two policemen were killed and three sustained injuries while performing their duties,” Capital City Police Officer Meer Zubair said. “At least 50 kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the blast,” a Bomb Disposal Squad official told reporters.
Sources at the Provincial Home Department told The Express Tribune that the bus should have been stopped at a secure place for security clearance before heading towards the city. The home secretary said that another bus carrying Zaireen had been stopped in Mustang for security reasons and arrived at the attack site 30 minutes after the incident. The passengers of the other bus were escorted back to their homes by levies officials.
The deceased and injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital, Bolan Medical Complex and Combined Military Hospital.
The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), Tahfuz-e-Izadari Council,Tehrik Nifaz-i- Jaffaria, Balochistan Shia Conference, Paktunkwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and other political parties condemned the attack and urged that the culprits be brought to justice.
The attack comes a day after a bomb planted under a tea stall at a railway station in the Sibi Railway Station killed seven people, including a child, and wounded more than a dozen others.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.