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April 13, 2019

Hazaras protest by blocking N-Bypass: 22 martyred in Quetta, Chaman bomb hits

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April 13, 2019

QUETTA: Twenty-two people were martyred and around 58 injured in two separate IED blasts in the Balochistan province on Friday.

Twenty people were martyred and dozens injured when an IED blast, apparently targeting the Shia Hazara community, ripped through Quetta’s Hazarganji Sabzi Mandi on Friday morning.

Eight Hazara community members, an FC official and two children were among the dead. Qari Hussain Force, an affiliate of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), later claimed responsibility for the attack in which 10kg explosive material was used.

At least 48 others, including three security personnel, were injured in the blast, police and provincial authorities said. Body parts littered the scene and injured people screamed for help as black smoke cloaked the market after the explosion.

DIG Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema told reporters that the blast, which took place at around 7:35am, was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) hidden among vegetables.

Shortly after the bombing, the Hazara community youths rallied in Quetta, demanding more security from the authorities and the arrest of those behind the attacks. Soon after burying the dead, the community members staged a sit-in on the Northern Bypass demanding immediate arrest of the killers.

Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langau reached the area and tried to convince the protesters to end their sit-in but they would not agree. "It seems people from the Hazara community were the target," said senior police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema, adding that some of the victims were in critical condition.

Speaking at a press conference, Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langau said initial investigation suggested it was a suicide bombing, insisting that it did not target any particular community. He said the perpetrators would be arrested and meted out justice.

Buildings located nearby were also damaged in the blast, police said. The injured are being treated at the Bolan Medical Complex. Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the blast and summoned a report on the incident. He expressed grief at the loss of innocent lives and directed the authorities to ensure best medical treatment for the injured.

"Deeply saddened & have strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Hazarganji market area of Quetta targeting our innocent people. I have asked for an immediate inquiry & increased security for the ppl. Prayers go to the families of the victims & for early recovery of the injured," PM Imran tweeted.

President Dr Arif Alvi condemned the blast and expressed sorrow over the loss of precious lives. In a statement, he termed it a "heinous act of terrorism which was a reminder for us as nation that few remnants of this menace are still left to be eliminated totally."

Condemning the attack, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry prayed for eternal peace for the departed souls and early recovery of the injured. He said the terrorists wanted to target the process of progress and development by harming peace in the country.

“The valiant people of Pakistan have been boldly facing terrorism and time is not far when terrorists will be completely eliminated from the country,” he added. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif prayed for the departed souls and expressed condolences to the grieving families of the victims.

He said the nation and its institutions had rendered great sacrifices to eliminate terrorism from the soil. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote on Twitter: "Condemn the terrorist attack in #Quetta. The government must stop dragging its feet & take action to counter violent extremism. Thoughts and prayers with the families of victims."

Balochistan Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, Chief Minister Mir Jam Kamal Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also condemned the attack in the strongest words. Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan condemned the attack, saying that the enemy of humanity was behind this act of terrorism.

ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan strongly condemned the incident and expressed profound grief and sorrow over loss of precious lives.

In a statement, he said the focus should be on improving law and order and the culprits be brought to justice. Underscoring the need for implementation of the National Action Plan, he demanded strict action against the banned outfits for protection of lives of innocent people.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani condemned the blast and directed the provincial government to provide proper medical treatment to the victims.

He expressed grief over the loss of precious lives and said anti-peace designs should be foiled at any cost. “End of terrorism in the country is our top priority where terrorists deserve no compensation,” said Sanjrani.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed shock at the Quetta attack and strongly condemned “this cowardly act,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “The United Nations expresses its full solidarity with the Government of Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism,” Dujarric said.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul W. Jones also issued a strong condemnation of the attack. “We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack on a market in Quetta. We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families," the US Embassy in Islamabad Twitter account posted.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Bahram Qassemi strongly condemned the Quetta suicide terrorist attack. Qassemi said security and stability of neighbors, especially Pakistan, was of great importance to Iran, expressing hope that the Pakistani government and people would foil the conspiracy of the region’s enemies by maintaining unity and vigilance, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website.

In the second IED blast that took place in the Chaman city two persons were killed and around 10 injured in the evening, police said.

Unidentified militants had planted an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on a motorcycle parked in the main bazaar on the Mall. The blast occurred when a Frontier Corps (FC) vehicle carrying troops was passing through. A child was among the two civilians who died immediately, while two FC personnel were among the injured, police said.

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