October 28, 2008 12:40:53 am
At least two persons were killed and 12 injured in a powerful car bomb attack in a high-security zone in the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta on Monday.
The blast occurred when explosives hidden in a car in the parking lot at the busy Liaquat Park area were detonated by terrorists, Balochistan’s Inspector General of Police Qazi Abdul Waheed said. Police said 10 kg of explosives were used in the blast, which sparked panic. Officials said one of the two persons killed in the attack was an auto-rickshaw driver. Two of the dozen injured are in a critical condition, they said.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack but similar bombings in the past have been blamed on Baloch nationalist groups waging a violent campaign for a greater say in the exploitation of the province’s abundant natural resources.
However, the three main national groups – Baloch Liberation Army, Baloch Republican Army and Baloch Liberation Front – had announced a unilateral ceasefire last month.
The explosion, which occurred in a high-security zone where the district courts, Chief Minister’s secretariat and Governor’s House are located, destroyed five cars and five auto-rickshaws that caught fire. Waheed said experts from the bomb disposal squad examined the site and collected evidence. Some police officials said locally-made explosives were used in the blast. Traders closed their shops in several commercial areas in Quetta in panic after the blast, which was heard from several kilometres away. The head of one victim was severed from his body and the other’s body was completely burned, doctors said.
President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi condemned the blast. They said such attacks were against humanity, Islam and Pakistan. Zardari said Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms and such acts cannot deter the Government from its resolve. Gilani said the perpetrators of such heinous attacks will be awarded exemplary punishment.
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