QUETTA: A blast in the Satellite Town area of Quetta on Saturday left three people, including a paramilitary soldier, dead and 24 others injured.
A patrolling vehicle of the Frontier Corps (FC) was the target of the explosion. An improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in a vehicle, which, according to an investigator, was a corolla suspected to be stolen or smuggled, parked on the road side.
“Around 45 kilogrammes of explosive material was used to target the Frontier Corps’ patrolling vehicle. An FC soldier was among the three dead. The blast injured 24 people, including FC soldiers,” Abdul Razzaq Cheema, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta, told The Express Tribune.
The blast damaged a patrolling vehicle, two cars and a rickshaw. Window panels of shops, buildings and vehicles were also shattered due to the impact of the blast.
The explosion was heard at a radius of four kilometres within the Quetta valley.
Around 15 daily wager labourers were having breakfast outside a roadside hotel near an interchange, located close to Sirki Road and Satellite Town area of Quetta when the explosion took place.
More troops, police and rescue workers rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area.
The injured were shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and Provincial Sandeman Hospital. Further, an emergency was declared at Provincial Sandeman Hospital following the bombing.
“I was having breakfast at 7:10am when the explosion occurred. I saw fire and thick smoke cover the area. I fell unconscious and found myself at the hospital,” Abdul Lateef, an injured labourer, told The Express Tribune at Provincial Sandeman Hospital.
“We often have breakfast together before we wait for costumers for any kind of construction work in the city,” he added.
Four of those injured are in critical condition.
According to an FC spokesperson, the FC vehicle was on routine patrolling when it came under attack.
“The shops were closed when the blast occurred. An FC vehicle was on routine patrolling in the area. An FC official Hawaldar Freed died and another solider was wounded,” the spokesperson told The Express Tribune.
“Ball bearings and nut bolts were used to maximise the damages,” Cheema said, adding that it is premature to comment on who could be responsible for the attack.
Investigators said the local Baloch militants often use motorcycle and cycles for carrying out bombing but in today’s attack a car packed with explosives was used.
“The modus operandi is different in this latest attack. A car and more explosives were used,” Quetta police chief said, adding that extremists could be responsible for the bombing.
“The investigators have collected the engine number and launched an inquiry about the vehicle,” he added.
Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has condemned the explosion and ordered an investigation into the deadly bombing.
“Law enforcing agencies should trace the culprits involved in this deadly bombing. The injured should be given adequate treatment,” Malik said in his statement.
Further, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain also condemned the blast, Radio Pakistan reported.
Later in the day, the banned Baloch United Army claimed responsibility for the attack.