At least 11 dead in southwestern Pakistan explosion
Quetta: An explosion aimed at a police vehicle in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 11 people and wounding 20 others, authorities said.
The blast was in front of the police chief’s office in Quetta, which is the wealthy southern capital of Baluchistan, a province full of Islamist and separatist insurgency.
“Eleven people were killed … and at least 20 other people were injured,” Fareed Ahmed, the medical director of the Civil Hospital, told AFP that the death toll had risen five hours earlier in the morning.
Four policemen were among the dead, while three others remained in critical condition, he said.
The police doctor, Dr. Ali Mardan, confirmed the figure.
Police said his vehicle was attacked in the attack, but the nature of the explosion is not yet known.
“The explosion directed against a police pick-up outside the IG’s (Inspector General) office. A motorcycle was also destroyed in the blast,” said Mohammed Tariq, a police officer.
Pakistan has fought against the Islamist and nationalist insurgency in Baluchistan since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting.
Bordering Iran and Afghanistan, it is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan, but about seven million people have long asked not to receive an equitable share of their wealth and mineral gas.
An increase in peace and development by the Pakistani authorities has significantly reduced violence in recent years.
The push includes the start of work on a massive Chinese infrastructure project – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – which gives Beijing a route to the Arabian Sea through the deep-water port of Gwadar Baluchistan.
Beijing is increasing its investment in its South Asian neighbor as part of a plan announced in 2015 that will link the westernmost region of Xinjiang to the Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, energy and transport improvements.