QUETTA: At least 63 people were killed and scores of others wounded when a bomb ripped through a crowd of mourners Monday at a hospital in Quetta, Balochistan health minister said.
The blast came after mourners including journalists and lawyers had gathered at the hospital following the fatal shooting of a senior local lawyer.
Cameramen of Aaj TV and Dawn News Shehzad Khan and Mehmood Khan respectively are also among dead.
A soldier comforts a mourner after the killing of a victim in a bomb explosion at a government hospital premises in Quetta on August 8, 2016. -AFP
Earlier, Balochistan Health Minister Rahmat Saleh Baloch said 93 people were killed in the incident. However, he later said that he gave an incorrect toll and withdrew his earlier statement.
Video footage showed bodies strewn on the ground, some still smoking, among pools of blood and shattered glass as shocked survivors cried and comforted one another.
Many of the dead appeared to be wearing black suits and ties. A large burn mark against white brick appeared to indicate where the bomb went off.
QTA BLAST Over All
Officials were cautious about the death toll, saying mobile phone jammers had been activated around hospitals in the area so they were unable to contact officers on the ground.
The military has also been deployed in and around the city’s hospitals, he said.
Commandeer Amir Riaz Q
Commander of the Southern Command Lt-Gen Amir Riaz visited Civil Hospital to enquire after the health of the injured persons.
The toll makes the attack the second deadliest in Pakistan this year so far, after a bombing in a crowded park in Lahore over Easter killed 75.
Several lawyers and some journalists had gathered at the hospital after the death of the president of the Balochistan Bar Association in a shooting earlier Monday, Akbar Harifal, provincial home secretary, told AFP.
BLAST HOSPITAL INSIDE QTA
The lawyer, Bilal Anwar Kasi, was targeted by two unidentified gunmen as he left his home in the morning for work.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either the blast or the shooting. Facebook activated its safety check for Quetta in the wake of the attack. –AFP