QUETTA: At least three people, including a prayer leader, were martyred in an explosion at a mosque in Quetta during the Friday sermon. Twenty-eight other worshippers were also injured.
Quetta Deputy Inspector General of Police Abdul Razzaq Cheema said an explosion hit the mosque during the Friday sermon being delivered by the prayer leader at Rahmaniya Mosque in Pashtoonabad.
“At least three people, including prayer leader Hafiz Ataur Rehman, have been martyred in the blast, while 28 worshipers have been injured,” said Cheema.
The other two worshippers martyred were identified as Shahbaz and Sultan.
A heavy contingent of police, Frontier Corps and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) rushed to the mosque and shifted the bodies and the injured to Civil Hospital, Quetta.
A video footage available with The Express Tribune showed debris strewn around the mosque with ceiling tiles lying shattered on the floor. Blood was scattered all over the place.
Civil hospital spokesperson Waseem Baig said, “We received three bodies and 28 injured. Four of the wounded with critical injuries have been shifted to ICU for better medical aid while others are being treated at the Trauma Centre.”
Pashtoonabad Police Station SHO Tauseef Farman said, “An explosive device was planted in the chair of the prayer leader that exploded before the Friday prayers began.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the blast.
“The prime minister has sought a report into the incident from the authorities concerned,” said a PM Office statement on Friday.
He directed for provision of the best possible healthcare facilities to those injured and also prayed for their early recovery.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan strongly condemned the attack. Kamal expressed grief and sorrow over the killings of the innocent citizens.
“Terrorists killing our people in the holy month of Ramazan deserve harshest punishment and we will hunt them down. No one will be allowed to disturb peace in our province,” said Kamal, directing LEAs to tighten security across the city.
Kamal also directed doctors to impart quality treatment to the injured at the civil hospital.
Separately, Provincial Home Minister Zia Langove condemned the attack.
Langove directed authorities to ensure more security at all mosques across the province.
Police claimed that over 1,500 police personnel were deployed across Quetta for provision of security to mosques and worshippers during Friday prayers.
SSP Operations Bahram Mandokhail confirmed that up to two to three kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the attack.
“The prayer leader was the target of attack,” said the SSP. “The blast occurred before the Friday prayers began.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack till the filing of this news story.