Baluch insurgents behind Quetta blast; 15 killed
Islamabad: At least 15 people,
including women and children were killed and another 36
injured on Friday when a powerful car bomb went off outside the
home of the son of a prominent politician in Quetta city of
southwest Pakistan, police said.
The Baluch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility
for the attack according to a message sent to a local news
agency. "BLA Fidaeen was in an explosive laden car that he
struck the residence of Shafeeq Mengal. It was the first
suicide attack carried out by BLA," the news agency quoted BLA
Spokesperson Merik Baloch as saying.
The blast ripped through the residence of Shafeeq Mengal,
son of former Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Muhammad Naseer
The explosion in a residential area near Arbab Karam Khan
Road was heard from several kilometres away.
Eight persons were killed instantly and five more
succumbed to their injuries in hospital. About 36 others,
including children, were injured.
The wounded were taken to several nearby hospitals.
Officials described the condition of six of the injured as
Shafeeq Mengal, his father and his family escaped unhurt
though some of his bodyguards were injured, Deputy Inspector
General of Police (operations) Nazir Kurd told reporters.
Shafeeq was the target of the attack and preliminary
investigations showed a bomb with over 40 kg of explosives was
planted in the car, Kurd said.
The car bomb was detonated an hour after Shafeeq returned
home from Khuzdar district, Kurd said.
Police officials said another bomb was planted in a
vehicle parked in the same area but it did not explode. The
bomb disposal squad later defused it.
The blast caused severe damage to about a dozen cars,
buildings and shops and blew out the windows of nearby
structures. It also triggered a blaze that was later
extinguished by fire fighters.
Footage on television showed ambulances taking the
injured, their clothes spattered with blood, to hospital.
Security forces cordoned off the area as thick black smoke was
seen rising from a building.
Rescue workers shifted the dead bodies and injured to
Provincial Sandeman Hospital where state of emergency had
already been declared in order to cope with situation
developed aftermath of the explosion.
Kurd confirmed that 13 dead bodies had including women
and children who were in the vicinity when the explosion took
place had been shifted to hospital and said the death toll to
rise further as some of those injured were in critical
Mengal had reached his residence an hour before the blast
from his ancestral town in Wadh. Police personnel recovered
two homemade bombs from the spot and managed to deactivate it.
Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary troops
Frontier Corps (FC) reached the spot and set up a security
perimeter in the area.
Quetta Police Chief Eshan Mehboob said Shafeeq Mengal
and his family were unhurt in the blast.
Mir Muhammad Naseer Mengal had also served as a federal
minister and was a member of the Senate or upper house of
Parliament during 2003-09.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani condemned the attack.
In a message, Gilani said such cowardly acts of
terrorism would not weaken the resolve of the nation to defeat
terrorism and extremism.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ordered an inquiry into the attack.