Quetta: 2 dead as sucide bomber targets pilgrims returning from Iran

Published: January 1, 2014
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Pakistani rescuers and security personnel gather around a burnt passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims at the site of the suicide car bomb attack in Akhtarabad, on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province on January 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani rescuers and security personnel gather around a burnt passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims at the site of the suicide car bomb attack in Akhtarabad, on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province on January 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani rescuers and security personnel gather around a burnt passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims at the site of the suicide car bomb attack in Akhtarabad, on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province on January 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP A view of the bus on fire following the explosion. PHOTO: INP PHOTO: Express News screenshot showing the site of the blast and the bus on fire.

QUETTA: Two people were killed and 31 others injured on Wednesday as a powerful bomb blast targeted a passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Taftan, a town in Balochistan bordering with Iran.

Capital City police officer Abdul Razzaq Cheema confirmed that the blast, which occurred near Qambrani Road in Akhtarabad, was a suicide attack.

He told AFP the bus was carrying at least 46 pilgrims from Iran to Quetta.

“Two Shia pilgrims have died in the blast while six police men are among 31 injured people,” Cheema told Express Tribune.

Police and personnel of Anti Terrorism force were escorting the bus when it blew up.

“Two police mobiles were in front and two behind, escorting the passenger bus. Two police vehicles passed by and the car rammed into the bus causing a huge explosion,” Cheema said, quoting SHO Raz Mohammed, who was escorting the bus.

As rescue services continue, casaulties are feared to rise further.

“The passengers were coming from Iran after pilgrimage and most of them belonged to Shia sect which suggests that it is a sectarian attack,” a senior police officer said.

According to Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), around 80 kilograms explosives were used in the blast.

“Suicide bomber used ball bearings and metal pieces,” said a BDA official.

Local bomb disposal chief Commander Razzaq, known by one name, told AFP that the car had been blown up by somebody sitting in it.

Frontier Corps have cordoned off the area. The tragedy comes as the temperature in Quetta hover around five degrees Celsius.

The injured were shifted to Civil Hospital, Bolan Medical Complex teaching Hospital and Combined Military Hospital where a state of emergency was imposed. Security has been beefed up at hospitals, due to fears of a follow-up attack, a common occurrence in Quetta.

“Most of the injured have been shifted to three different state-run hospitals of Quetta,” Deputy Inspector General Mobin Ahmed said.

Doctors at Civil hospital said they received two dead bodies and ten injured, five of whom were shifted to CMH because of their critical wounds.

Eight injured people were shifted to Bolan Medical Complex.

“Death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition,” a rescue worker told Express Tribune.

Balochistan is rife with militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslims, and a regional insurgency waged by separatists.

MWM announces 3-day mourning

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the bomb blast, as have MQM chief Altaf Hussain and ANP leader Asfandyar Wali.

The Shia political party Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen has announced a three-day period of mourning over the incident. MWM leader Allama Nasir Abbas Jaffri said any kind of progress was impossible if the perpetrators behind such terror attacks were never caught.

As condemnations poured in from all directions, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Munawar Hasan termed it condemnable to target a passenger bus.

Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch ordered that the victims be extended every possible assistance.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Major Iqbal
    Jan 1, 2014 - 6:56PM

    Looks like the tide has turned and the Afghans got strategic depth in Pakistan, and not the other way around.

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  • enu
    Jan 1, 2014 - 7:16PM

    :( our apologies to Iran.

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  • Raza
    Jan 1, 2014 - 7:34PM

    new year, 1st day started with Shia Genocide. None in Govt. has any concerned whatsoever related to this Genocide continuing for decades. They are more interested in making people fool and making conspiracy with banned outfits like Sipa e Sahaba, Lashkar e Jhangvi. What will be the outcome of this silence? how long this will continue? what they waiting for ?

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  • Atif I. Malik
    Jan 1, 2014 - 7:44PM

    If you think these flames rising from Quetta pilgrims’ bus will not engulf you eventually. You are so, equally WRONG as this happened in Raja Bazar Rawalpindi.

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  • Obaid
    Jan 1, 2014 - 7:44PM

    The government should at once send a delegation of “Islamic scholars” for peace talks with the perpetrators

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  • Ali
    Jan 1, 2014 - 7:47PM

    The basic civil liberty; right to live, is at stake in my country. We are bleeding every day and no one cares.

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  • Jan 1, 2014 - 8:05PM

    @Raza: You mean to say that these sectarian killings are not being committed by Lashkar -e Jhanghavi who is preaching openly against Shia. Surely then this must be a work of CIA, RAW, MOSSAD . there is no wonder why one agrees to become suicide bomber

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  • mind control
    Jan 1, 2014 - 8:09PM

    Two Nation Theory all over again?

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  • extremism
    Jan 1, 2014 - 8:09PM

    Extremism grows when sects get government level support; policies of govts especially PPP & Musharraf in last ten years brought extremism at this level.

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  • Raza
    Jan 1, 2014 - 8:33PM

    @whitesky: you misunderstood it. These all killing are committed by LeJ, Sipa e Sahaba ( fake ASWJ). There is no CIA, RAW, MOSSAD is involved or supporting them but rather these all banned outfits are sponsored by KSA, UAE, Qatar etc. They have open relation with Political parties like PMLN, JI etc & support of their same-sect political wings like JUI-F, Sami-ul-Haq, JI etc. And these Shia killings are not the aftermath of 9-11, it is being happened for last 30+ years and so. Whichever Govt it is PPP, or PMLN or some other they have no concern whatsoever with these killings and killers.

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  • xor
    Jan 1, 2014 - 8:35PM

    Where is PML-N govt?

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  • Hari Om
    Jan 1, 2014 - 8:57PM

    Yet again in Pakistan, a country claimed to have been founded to provide a safe haven for the Muslims of the Indian Sub-Continent, one sees an incident of violence where Muslim kills Muslim over nothing more than differences in interpretation of the Muslim religion.

    What is particularly ironic is that Pakistan’s founder Mr. M.A. Jinnah would have risked life and limb for following the practices of his original Shia sect of Islam in today’s Pakistan.

    Next I wait to hear the oft repeated statement that there is no such thing as intra Muslim sectarian killings in Pakistan as it is inconceivable that a Muslim can kill another Muslim as Islam is the Religion of Peace where even killing one person is considered as killing all humanity making instances like these killings in Pakistani minds a RAW / Mossad / CIA perpetrated act by India / Israel / USA to malign Islam and Pakistan.

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  • Bilal
    Jan 1, 2014 - 8:57PM

    Another day in Pakistan, where the forces of religion are carrying out their divinely inspired mission. We don’t need foreign enemies, this country is doing a great job cannibalizing itself.

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  • Stranger
    Jan 1, 2014 - 9:02PM

    Sick people – targeting innocent pilgrims .May their souls ( of the dead ones , not the killers ) rest in peace.

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  • Irfan
    Jan 1, 2014 - 9:29PM

    Closed M.A. Jinnah Road tomorrow!

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  • Jibran
    Jan 1, 2014 - 9:45PM

    PMLN is hand in glove with the terrorists. The dirty alliance between PMLN and LeJ+TTP has left no safe place for the peaceful Pakistanis.

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  • Hyder
    Jan 1, 2014 - 9:48PM

    Demonstrating religious believe on streets is minority’s right of freedom, same time how about enforcing majority to stay at home?

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  • Mir
    Jan 1, 2014 - 9:50PM

    @Hari Om:

    You’ve gone astray. Baluchistan is not a province of Pakistan but was instead illegally occupied by Pakistan just as Kashmir is occupied by India.

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  • LunacyAsailam
    Jan 1, 2014 - 9:52PM

    @enu:
    :( our apologies to Iran.
    strong text

    So you are not concerned about the death of your citizens but scared of souring ties with Iran?.Typical scythian mentality. The scyths are sandwiched between two proper civilizations.

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  • imran ali
    Jan 1, 2014 - 10:15PM

    waiting for the reaction of Ch.Nisar and Imran khan blaming American …

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  • Imran bhatt
    Jan 1, 2014 - 10:55PM

    According to IK, those who were targeted were actually responsible of drone strikes in Pakistan.

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  • Jat
    Jan 1, 2014 - 11:21PM

    Only two dead, after such a big blast in a bus full of 50 people ? Lies everywhere; a country whose foundations were built upon falsehood…

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  • LunacyAsailam
    Jan 1, 2014 - 11:35PM

    @Mir:

    You’ve gone astray. Baluchistan is not a province of Pakistan but was instead illegally occupied by Pakistan just as Kashmir is occupied by India.

    How is Kashmir occupied by India? we wont give an inch of our motherland just because of the crooning of a bunch of desert rag heads.

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  • Abusalam
    Jan 2, 2014 - 12:45AM

    This type of Activity can be done only by Non-Muslim. Why Muslim will kill another Muslim? No logic.

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  • Janet Garcia Texas USA
    Jan 2, 2014 - 12:49AM

    @Obaid:The government should at once send a delegation of “Islamic scholars” for peace talks with the perpetrators another insidious statement what “Islamic scholars” this Shia-Sunni feud has been rampant for generations where have the “ELDERS of ISLAM” been? in a cave thinking that no action will make this go away?

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  • Iron hand
    Jan 2, 2014 - 2:19AM

    I’m sure that all sectarian attacks like this would end with an announced end to drone strikes.

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  • Mir
    Jan 2, 2014 - 2:38AM

    @LunacyAsailam:

    Umm, what? You need to go back to history class, my dear.

    Kashmir was never a part of India nor does Kashmir belong to Pakistan.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 2, 2014 - 6:13AM

    @Abusalam:
    So, by your reasoning, Iraq and Iran must have hired tens of thousands of “non-Muslims” to fight their Iran-Iraq war back in the 80s!!!!

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  • Hailstorm
    Jan 2, 2014 - 8:13AM

    @Mir,
    Jammu & Kahsmir was a princely state and was part of British India. And culturally, linguistically, geographically it has always been part of India for the past 5000 years. It’s only in recent years, that a desert cult has swayed the minds of the people there.

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  • powvow
    Jan 2, 2014 - 5:03PM

    @Mir – “Kashmir was never a part of India nor does Kashmir belong to Pakistan”

    Kashmir was part of India and known as “Sharda Peeth”… The remnants of the old temples, emitting cosmic radiations, the Shankaracharya hillock in Srinagar are a testimony to the ancient civilization of the land.

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  • Jan 3, 2014 - 8:19PM

    Terrorists’ atrocities continue to send the nation into chaos and frenzy. The indiscriminate killings of innocents, kidnappings, and target killings only begin to describe the barbaric nature of these enemies of peace. Terrorist organizations like the TTP, Al-Qaeda, and the Haqqani network have proven that they pose a risk to the region’s stability. We share a common stance against terrorism, and wish to see our nations remain united against our common enemies. We will not let these terrorists deter us from achieving our peace objectives. We will continue to target those who threaten the safety of our nations.

    We send our heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families. We hope that they will find the strength to deal with this tragedy. We also wish to see the injured make a quick and speedy recovery. We stand by the nation of Pakistan, and fully support their efforts to counter the threat of terrorism.

    Ali Khan
    DET, United States Central Command

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  • Paki
    Jan 22, 2014 - 9:55AM

    One suggestion, Government should ban LOUD.SPEAKER usage in all way possible in country except five times AZAAN and Friday khutba. Simple. to avoid shia sunni hate speeches.

    lahore and punjab is a hub for this.. esp where i live in lahore nearby mosques are using loud speakers for same purpose targeting each other on every occasion.

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