Islamabad: At least five people were killed and more than 50 injured on Monday when a bus carrying Shia students was targeted with a powerful car bomb in Quetta city of southwest Pakistan on Monday, officials said.
The blast took place around 8.20 am when the bus carrying 52 students from the Balochistan University of Information Technology was hit by the explosion inside a small car parked near the Federal Investigation Authority building on Samungli Road.
All the dead were students, officials said.
Geo News said at least 53 people, including four policemen and four women students, were injured.
State-run PTV channel said the injured policemen were passing by the site in a car when the bomb went off.
A TV channel quoted hospital officials as saying that the injured included nine women and five children.
The injured were taken to the Combined Military Hospital, the Bolan Medical Complex and the Civil Hospital.
The toll may rise as at least 12 students are in critical condition and were taken to hospital.
The blast left a two-foot-deep crater on the ground, witnesses said. A motorbike and a rickshaw near the blast site were also destroyed, Xinhua reported.
The bomb contained about 40 kg of explosives and metal pellets, officials of bomb disposal squad said.
Police officials said the bus was the target of the attack.
Security forces and rescue teams rushed to the site immediately after the blast was reported.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has condemned the attack.
Angry students gathered near the hospitals where the injured were admitted, and staged a protest.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistani police official, Qazi Abdul Wahid, would not say who was suspected in the attack but security agencies hold Baloch nationalists responsible for such bombings.
Balochistan has witnessed a decades-long insurgency by renegade tribal elders and Baloch nationalists who demand greater autonomy and a larger share of the province's resources such as natural gas and minerals.
The province borders Afghanistan and Iran and is also believed to be a refuge for Taliban and Pakistani militants.
(With Agency inputs)
First Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 11:22