At least 40 people were today killed and 50 others, mostly lawyers, injured when a bomb ripped through a hospital in Quetta in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province followed by gunfire.
The loud explosion was heard as lawyers brought the body of president of Balochistan Bar Association (BA) Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi, who was gunned down by unidentified assailants earlier in the provincial capital, to the hospital, according to police and rescue officials.
Lawyers and journalists had gathered at the emergency department where Kasi’s body was brought, when the explosion occurred. Most of the injured are lawyers, eye witnesses were quoted as saying in the local media.
At least 40 people were killed and 50 others injured in the blast, The Express Tribune reported but did not attribute the toll to police or officials.
Aerial firing could still be heard near the hospital’s emergency’s ward, the paper said.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said over 30 killed in the bombing.
“This was a security lapse and I am having this personally investigated,” he said.
Police said unknown men also opened fire after the blast.
Panic tore through the hospital after the incident and emergency has been declared at hospitals in Quetta.
A heavy contingent of Frontier Corps and police arrived and cordoned off the area.
It is suspected that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, Bugti told DawnNews.
Two unidentified men opened fire at Advocate Kasi’s car near Quetta’s Mengal Chowk on Manno Jan road as he left his home in the morning for work, police officials said. The former president was shifted to Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to injuries.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blast or the earlier shooting.
The provincial capital bordering Iran and Afghanistan has been at the receiving end of several such acts of terror. In May, two persons were killed and five injured when an explosion occurred at the main entrance of Balochistan University.