QUETTA: At least one person was killed and 22 injured on Thursday in a blast targeting JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Meckangi Road of Quetta, moments after he ended his address at a rally in Sadiq Shaheed football ground.
The JUI-F chief remained unhurt as he claimed to be the target of the suicide bombing.
“My car was damaged but we remained unhurt as my car was bullet-proof,” Fazl told reporters after the blast.
Fazl said he was not warned about any kind of threat to his life nor any organisation had threatened him.
“I have not been warned or threatened by any group. It is the responsibility of law enforcing agencies to investigate the incident,” Fazl said, adding, “I speak against United States of America. Speak up for enforcement of Islamic law. That could be a reason I was targeted.”
More than 15,000 activists and supporters of JUI-F were present inside the football ground to attend the Mufti Mehmood Conference when the blast occurred about less than 400 metres from the ground.
“It was a suicide attack aimed at the political gathering of Fazl. A civilian was killed and over 20 wounded in the blast,” Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Abdul Razzaq Cheema told The Express Tribune.
“The body of suicide bomber and activist were brought to Provincial Sandeman Hospital,” Cheema added.
According to SSP Operations Aetezaz Guraya Fazl after his speech at Mufti Mehmood Conference was going back when a suicide bomber tried to strike his bulletproof vehicle.
A pickup car and rickshaw were destroyed in the blast.
Home Minister Balochistan Sarfraz Bugti said the suicide bomber wanted to go inside the football ground. However, he could not succeed as there were foolproof security arrangements with the huge deployment of Anti-Terrorism Force, police and security forces.
Rescue workers, police and security forces reached the spot with after 20 minutes of the blast. The injured were transported to Provincial Sandeman Hospital and Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for treatment.
“Two dead bodies and 22 injured were brought here,” medics at Provincial Sandeman Hospital said. Some of the injured were shifted to CMH owing to critical wounds.
According to media reports, the banned religious group Jundullah is responsible for the bombing aimed at Maulana Fazalur Rehman.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the suicide blast targeting JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman of in Quetta on Thursday evening.
Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain also condemned the suicide attack on the vehicle of JUI-chief and expressed his grief over the death and injuries of JUI-F workers.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Pakistan Punjab President Ejaz Ahmad Chaudary has also condemned the incident and expressed concern over the lack of security measures taken by the Balochistan government to protect lives of people.
“The Balochistan government has failed in protecting the lives of their people,” said Chaudhry.
Earlier, a blast on Quetta’s Qambrani Road left two people dead and 14 others — including two personnel of Frontier Corps (FC) – injured on Thursday, Express News reported.
Further, unidentified men also opened fire on a bus in the outskirts of Quetta on Thursday, killing eight people — said to belong to the Hazara community — and injuring one, in what is believed to be a sectarian attack.