Saturday 24 September 2016

At least 63 killed in bomb attack on Pakistan hospital

Published 08/08/2016 | 07:22

Quetta, Pakistan. Picture: Google Maps
Quetta, Pakistan. Picture: Google Maps

The death toll from the suicide attack on a hospital in Pakistan has increased to 63.

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Abdul Rehman, the director of the Quetta Civil Hospital, said medical teams are also treating 92 wounded people following the explosion at the state-run hospital in the south-western city.

He said most of the victims of the bombing are lawyers.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack in the Baluchistan provincial capital.

Nearly 100 lawyers had come to the hospital in the heart of Quetta, after the body of their colleague, prominent attorney Bilal Kasi was brought there.

Mr Kasi, the chief of the province's bar association, was shot and killed by gunmen earlier on Monday as he was on his way to his office.

The lawyers gathered at the Quetta Civil Hospital to express their grief as is common with public figures.

Mr Kasi was among the most outspoken lawyers in the province and was popular for campaigning for improvements in the lawyers' community.

"It was a suicide attack," said Zahoor Ahmed Afridi, a senior police officer. Afridi said the attacker hit shortly after Mr Kasi's body was brought in and that it seemed the two events were connected.

One of the survivors described a horrifying scene, saying there were "bodies everywhere".

Waliur Rehman said he was taking his ailing father to the emergency ward when the explosion shook the building.

The blast was so powerful that they both fell down, he said.

Sanaullah Zehri, chief minister in Baluchistan province, said both the bombing and Mr Kasi's slaying seemed to be part of a plot to disrupt peace in the provincial capital.

Sarfraz Bugti, the provincial interior minister, denounced the attack as an "act of terrorism".

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast and expressed his "deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives" in the attack.

"No one will be allowed to disturb the peace in the province that has been restored thanks to the countless sacrifices by the security forces, police and the people of Baluchistan," he said in a statement.

Ali Zafar, the head of the country's main lawyers' association, condemned the blast as "an attack on justice".

He said lawyers will observe three days of mourning and will not appear in court in solidarity with their colleagues and others killed in the attack.

Quetta and the rest of Baluchistan province have long been hit by insurgency.

There are several ethnic Baluch separatist groups operating in the resource-rich province, but al Qaida and other militant groups also have a presence here.

 

Press Association

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