Islamabad: At least 73 people were killed and more than 150 injured in a blast that ripped through a procession taken out by the Shia community near Meezan chowk in Quetta, capital of Pakistan`s Balochistan province, media reports said.
Bomb disposal squad officials confirmed that the blast was caused by a suicide attacker who blew himself up. As many as 59 bodies were received by combined military hospital (CMH), 10 were brought to civil hospital, while Bolan medical complex received four bodies.
Driver of Aaj TV crew Muhammad Sarwar also died in the blast while several cameramen covering the procession were injured. City police authorities said the participants of the procession were asked to disperse, as per prior agreement, before Meezan chowk but they did not heed to it.
Angry participants of the procession and activists of Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) resorted to aerial firing after the incident and also torched a government building. DSNG van of a local TV channel was also fired at that broke the wind screen. However, the driver and other staff remained unhurt.
Balochistan Shia Conference has announced 40 days of mourning to condemn the blast. Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Aslam Raisani has announced to provide free treatment to all injured people. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has ordered high level probe into the unfortunate incident.
Emergency has been declared in Quetta hospitals to cater to the situation. Because of shia community processions scheduled across the country after Friday prayers, security was on high alert because of terror threats. Earlier on Wednesday, three back-to-back blasts in Lahore on a Shia procession had killed more than 35 people and injured more than 250 others.