5 dead, 10 injured in blast near hotel on Zarghun Road; according to initial investigation it could be a suicide attack, say police
QUETTA: Security was tightened in the city on Thursday after a powerful blast rocked the city, in which five people died and 10 others were injured, Geo News reported.
The explosion occurred in the parking area of a hotel located near the Serena Chowk, said the police. Several vehicles parked in the area caught fire after the blast.
The deceased were later identified as Shujaat Abbasi (policeman), Asad ullah (hotel security guard), Shahzaib (shift manager), Aimal Kasi (forest department employee) and Naseebullah.
Two assistant commissioners are said to be among the injured. Seven of the injured were taken to Civil hospital, where the condition of one of them is said to be critical.
Initial investigation has revealed the blast was caused when explosive material, fitted inside a car was detonated, said the police.
According to the Bomb Disposal Unit, 40-50 kgs of explosives were used in the bomb.
The CTD department of police cordoned off the area and started an investigation, a spokesperson said and added that that according to initial investigation it could be a suicide attack.
"The bomber detonated the bomb in the parking area after failing to enter the hotel," the official added.
The blast, owing to its intensity, could be heard several kilometers away.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry condemned the blast and said that the Ministry of Home Affairs is in close touch with the Balochistan government and a preliminary investigation related to the blast is underway.
"The government will issue a statement as soon as the nature of the blast and the damage are determined," he wrote on Twitter.
IG Balochistan Muhammad Tahir Rai spoke to the media to say that the experts in the police force were conducting their investigation, adding that they would soon make public the findings of the probe.
Rai said the blast had damaged five to six vehicles in the parking area.
Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani spoke to Geo News to condemn the incident, describing it as a "terrorist attack" committed by those who did not wish to see Balochistan prosper.
He said an investigation was being carried out and the perpetrators of the blast will not be able to escape the law.
When asked whether the blast resulted due to a security lapse on part of the government, he said the primary responsibility of security rested with the hotel.
Shahwani said the hotel had its own scanners through which guests were inspected thoroughly and that vehicles entering and exiting the parking lot also had to pass through barricades, before they were checked for any explosive item.
He said the investigation into the bomb blast will also take note of the loopholes that resulted in the bomb blast.
When asked whether there were any foreign delegations present inside the hotel when the blast occurred, Shahwani said there was only one "luxurious hotel" in Quetta where envoys and diplomats came to have hi-tea.
As news broke of the blast and as casualties were reported, several people took to social media to offer their condolences and express their grief.
Former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik condemned the "inhumanity", saying that Pakistan had too long suffered at the hands of extremist elements.
"Our country has suffered far too long at the hands of deluded individuals who represent nothing but inhumanity. My family and I send our condolences, respect and amity to the victims and their loved ones of this unspeakable attack in #Quetta #Pakistan," he tweeted.
"Stay strong Quetta," tweeted TV personality Fakhr-e-Alam.
One Twitter user, KaalaPak said it was another ploy by the enemy to make Pakistan a failed state.
Sumeta Afzal Sayed prayed for those who were killed in the attack and also for the ones who were injured.