MASTUNG: A car bomb hit a Frontier Corps (FC) van escorting a bus of Shia pilgrims in Dringarh, Mastung on Saturday, killing two soldiers, officials said.
The incident took place on the main Quetta-Taftan Highway in Mastung district, some 50 kilometres southwest of Quetta.
Frontier Corps and Balochistan Levies convoys were escorting five passenger buses of Shia pilgrims on the highway when they found a suspected car parked on the road.
“The buses were stopped from proceeding and two FC personnel got off and went near to search the car. As they got closer to the car, a huge explosion took place killing both on the spot,” Assistant Commissioner Mastung Shafqat Anwar told The Express Tribune.
He said it was a remotely-controlled bomb, apparently targeting the Shia pilgrims.
All the pilgrims on the bus, who were on their way to Iran, were safe but several security personnel were wounded by the remotely triggered bomb, Sayed Mehrab Shah, a senior government official in Mastung said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast but most attacks in the province bordering Afghanistan and Iran have been linked to militant insurgency or sectarian violence.
Security forces cordoned off the area after the explosion and collected evidence from the crime scene.
The dead bodies were taken to Quetta and the buses were allowed to proceed towards Taftan border. One of the deceased was identified as Sobadar Farhatullah.
After increasing number of attacks on Shia pilgrims, security on Quetta-Taftan highway was beefed up and the buses carrying Shia pilgrims were escorted by FC and Balochistan Levies personnel.
A large number of Shia pilgrims go to Iran to visit the sacred places through Quetta and most of them travel on passenger buses. Balochistan provincial government held a high level meeting to devise a security plan ahead of Muharam to foil any possible terrorism attempts in Quetta and national highways.
On December 30, 2012, a car bomb attack on buses carrying Shia pilgrims to Iran had killed 19 people and injured 25 in Mastung officials had said.
The remotely-triggered bomb hit a convoy of three buses in Mastung district and set one of them ablaze, Tufail Baluch a senior government official in the district had said.
“The bomb was planted in a car. The condition of some of the injured is critical,” Baluch had said.
On September 18, 2012, three people were killed when a blast took place near a bus carrying pilgrims in the Mastung district.
Nine people, including three Levies personnel who were escorting the pilgrims, were injured in the incident.
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