53 killed, 56 injured as suicide blast hits hospital in SW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — At least 53 people were killed and 56 others injured in a suicide blast inside the emergency ward of a hospital in Pakistan’s southwest Quetta city on Monday morning, local Urdu media and officials said.

Geo News said that a total of 37 bodies were shifted to the mortuary of the Civil Hospital, 15 in military hospital and one in Bolan Medical Complex of the city.

A bomb disposal squad said the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber who was carrying an estimated eight to 10 kg of explosive materials in his vest.

The squad said they have found limbs of the bomber, which will be sifted for lab test to help further investigations.

Sanaullah Zehri, Chief Minister Balochistan with Quetta as the capital city, said the blast happened when a large number of lawyers and journalists were gathering in the Civil Hospital to collect body of a local law association chairman.

He said most of the injured people included lawyers while the dead also included several lawyers and two journalists.

He said militancy has seeped into the province like cancer and the terrorists are getting foreign funding to deteriorate law and order situation in the province.

He announced three-day mourning in the province.

The slain lawyer Bilal Kasi was president of Balochistan Bar Association who got killed when some unknown gunmen opened fire on his vehicle when he was on his way to office at Manno Jan area of Quetta.

The gunmen fled the scene after the attack.

Rahmat Baloch, provincial health minister said that the emergency ward of the civil hospital was completely destroyed in the blast.

He said a state of emergency has been declared in all hospitals of the city to ensure the best possible medical treatment for the injured people.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

A heavy contingent of police and paramilitary troops rushed to the blast site and cordoned it off for investigations.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast and vowed to root out militancy from the country.

The explosion caused a chain reaction from the circles of lawyers from the country.

Lawyers in Balochistan and the country’s southern port city of Karachi boycotted court proceedings.

The Pakistan Bar Association condemned the attack and announced a three-day mourning. PNA/Xinhua/northboundasia.com