14 injured in roadside blast near hospital in Pakistan's Quetta, massive combing ops underway
Targeted killings have become increasingly common in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.
Karachi: At least 14 people were injured when a roadside bomb targeting a judge, exploded near a hospital in Quetta in Pakistan's restive southwestern Balochistan province, days after a deadly attack killed 74 people, mostly lawyers.
Fourteen people were injured in the blast when a vehicle belonging to the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) accompanying Justice Zahoor Shahwani's vehicle was hit at Quetta's Zarghon road.
Balochistan Home minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the judge escaped the attack but one of the security vehicles escorting him was damaged.
The bomb was planted along the side of the road and exploded as the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) vehicle passed by.
According to rescue officials, ten civilians and four security officials were injured, with two in critical condition, in the blast near Al Khair Hospital in Balochistan's provincial capital. The blast also shattered windows of nearby buildings, the Dawn reported.
Police spokesman Shahzada Farhat said police officers and passers-by were wounded.
Security forces and a bomb disposal squad reached the scene to collect evidence. Rescue teams moved the injured to nearby hospitals.
Police cordoned off the area as a search operation went underway.
"This is a busy road and the terrorists take advantage of this, planting bombs and fleeing on motorcycles," Bugti said, strongly condemning the attack.
"These blasts are aimed at sabotaging Independence Day activities in Balochistan. I believe these cowardly acts will not bring down our morale. We are in a conflict zone and we will fight with renewed resolve," the minister said.
"We are reviewing our security measures and you will see changes on the ground," he said.
Bugti said that three to four kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the blast.
The explosion comes just days after a suicide bombing killed 74 people and injured 115, mostly lawyers and journalists, at the emergency ward of Quetta's Civil Hospital on Monday.
A combing operation is ongoing throughout Quetta following Monday's blast.