World

Suicide blast rips through Pakistani fruit market, killing 20

12 April 2019 - 170   - 0

At least 20 people were killed and 48 wounded Friday by a powerful suicide blast apparently targeting the Shia Hazara ethnic minority at a crowded fruit market in Pakistan's Quetta city, officials said.

Body parts littered the scene and injured people screamed for help as black smoke cloaked the market after the explosion.

A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack, which occurred in the capital of southwestern Balochistan province.

The group said it collaborated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has been behind numerous bloody attacks on Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. There was no immediate confirmation from LeJ.

Balochistan -- which borders Afghanistan and Iran -- is Pakistan's largest and poorest province, rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.

Balochistan home minister Zia Ullah Langu gave the toll and confirmed it was a suicide blast, adding that two of the dead were children.

Provincial police chief Mohsin Butt said eight Hazara were among the victims.

The Hazara, whose Central Asian features make them easily recognisable, are a soft target for Sunni militants, who consider them heretics.

They are so frequently targeted that they are forced to live in two protected enclaves in the city and are given a daily police escort to the market to stock up on supplies.

"I was loading a small truck and I heard a huge bang and it seemed as if the earth beneath me had shaken and I fell down," said Irfan Khan, a labourer, from his hospital bed.

"The atmosphere was filled with black smoke and I could not see anything, I could hear people screaming for help and I was also screaming for help."

He said the air was "filled with the stinging smell of burnt human flesh".

Senior police official Abdul Razaq Cheema said the blast targeted the Hazarganji neighbourhood of Quetta.

Hazara make up roughly 500,000 of the city's 2.3 million people.

Amnesty International said the blast was a "painful reminder" of the many attacks suffered by the Hazara community in Quetta over the years, and called for the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to give them better protection.

"Each time, there are promises that more will be done to protect them, and each time those promises have failed to materialize," wrote Omar Waraich, Amnesty's deputy director for South Asia.

Violence in Pakistan has dropped significantly since the country's deadliest-ever militant attack, an assault on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014 that killed more than 150 people, most of them children.

(AFP)

  Comments - 0

  • Leave a comment



Top Stories

WhatsApp, Telegram users cautioned after cybersecurity firm exposes file sharing lapses

WhatsApp and Telegram users have been advised to take precaution while sharing media files after a top cybersecurity firm exposed a security lapse ...

17 July 2019 - Views : 20

Lorry, van collision leave 17 injured ; two critical

17 July 2019

Public Utilities Commission and Moratuwa University to create low income housing model

17 July 2019

Showers and heavy winds in the south-west until July 19 : Met. Dept.

17 July 2019



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">

 

Features & Analysis

Car-free day draws a crowd

Colombo’s first open street concept day saw residents reclaiming their streets from Green Path to Independ...

Reviving our island spirit - #DineEscapeRebuild

The Island Story, a brand new travel company with a fresh perspective on travel is collaborating with Botanik Rooftop...

Huawei shutterbug competition "Beautiful Sri Lanka" ends on a high

Huawei recently organized a competition for shutterbugs under the theme "Beautiful Sri Lanka" The w...

Hidden coral reef discovered off Kankasanthurai harbour

A diving team attached to the Northern Naval Command recently discovered a beautiful coral reef which remained a well...



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">