Quetta blast kills 71, injures 108

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QUETTA, Aug 08 (APP): A powerful suicide bomb blast here at Sandeman Civil Hospital left 71 persons, including lawyers and journalists, dead and 108 critically injured.

The suicide bomber blew himself up outside the gate of emergency ward of the hospital. Senior leader Baz Muhammad Kakar was among the 25 lawyers killed while two journalists also became victims.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri and Inspector General of Police Ahsan Mehboob confirmed that it was a suicide bomb explosion.

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Kamran Murtaza said senior lawyer leader and ex-president of Balochistan High Court Bar Association Baz Muhammad Kakar and other senior lawyer leaders were killed in the blast. “Twenty-five lawyers were killed while most of the injured were also lawyers,” he added.

According to Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti, some 71 persons had died so far while 108 others were injured.

The terrorists targeted lawyers who were gathered at the hospital where the body of Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi was brought after being gunned down by unknown armed men on Manno Jan Road earlier in the morning.

A cameraman of a private TV channel was among the dead. Besides lawyers, the injured also included journalists.

“Shehzad Khan, cameraman of private channel Aaj News and Mehmood, cameraman of Dawn News, died in the blast while covering the lawyers who gathered at the hospital after the body of their slain leader was brought there,” a police official said. Most of the dead and the injured were lawyers, he added.

Faridullah, reporter of Dunya News and Fateh Shakir, cameraman of 92 News, were among the injured. Advocate Sangat Jamaldini, son of Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldini, was also reportedly injured.

The police said the unknown miscreants opened indiscriminate fire at Bilal Anwar Kasi, killing him on the spot. His body was later shifted to Sandeman Civil Hospital for postmortem and legal formalities.

Soon after the targeted killing of Bilal Anwar Kasi, a large
number of lawyers reached Civil Hospital. Media teams also reached
there to cover the incident. During that, a powerful bomb explosion happened, leaving many dead and injured, the police said.
The blast, which was heard at far away places, created panic and harassment among the people. Several vehicles parked in the premises of the hospital were also damaged while windowpanes of the hospital and nearby buildings were shattered.
The firing also took place at the hospital soon after the incident.
The law enforcement agencies including the Frontier Corps, Police and Balochistan Constabulary cordoned off the entire areas.
Most of the injured were shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Quetta .
The hospital sources said some 37 bodies were placed at Sandeman Civil Hospital, 15 at CMH Quetta and the remaining at other hospitals.
According to the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), it was a suicide explosion. “Eight kilogram explosives and ball bearings were used in the blast,” the BDS said. “There no cavity found at the blast site while bearings were found at the walls.” It confirmed that a suicide bomber had blown himself up.
Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri strongly condemned
the blast and said the culprits involved in this act of terror would
be brought to justice. “Stern action will be taken against the elements involved in acts of terror,” he said.
He directed the authorities concerned to provide all health care facilities to the injured.
Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said the terrorists had
attacked the lawyers. The personnel deployed for the hospital’s security would be taken to task for their lapse, he said, adding that an inquiry would be held to look into their negligence.
“Balochistan is in conflict zone and the government and the people of the province are in a state of war. They are fighting against terrorists and our war will continue till complete elimination of the terrorists,” he said.