19 killed in Mastung bus bombing

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At least 19 Shia pilgrims were killed and over 25 others injured when a powerful bomb ripped through a bus in Mastung district on Sunday. The victims were among a group of Shia pilgrims on way to Iran to perform religious rites.
Jaishul Islam claimed responsibility for the attack in telephone calls to various media houses.
Per details, three buses carrying the pilgrims were moving from Quetta to Iran under a security cover provided by the Levies Force. However, when the convoy passed through Dringar area on the main Quetta-Taftan highway in Mastung, an explosives-laden vehicle parked along the roadside was remotely detonated, smashing one of the three buses to pieces. Nineteen of the passengers were killed on the spot, while another 25, including four women, were critically injured.
Following the explosion, passengers on other buses and levies personnel started evacuating the people from the damaged bus. However, inaccessibility to fire fighting engines made the rescue operation extremely difficult, resulting in several of the victims suffocating to death. Most of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Jaishul Islam spokesman Ghazi Haq Nawaz said the attack on pilgrims’ buses by the mujahideen was in response to the attack on Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat leader Maulana Arungzeb Farooqi in Karachi. He warned the Mastung administration to remain away from Shia sect; otherwise they would be their next target. Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said three buses with Shia pilgrims were on way to Iran when an explosives-laden car parked along the road exploded near Dringar area of Mastung. He said the buses were being escorted by Levies personnel and rejected reports that the attack had been a suicide bombing. About 70 to 80 kilogrammes of explosives were packed in the vehicle of attack, he said.
Durrani added that all deceased were travelling in the bus at the front of the convoy, while the injured were on board the first as well as the second bus. The passengers of the third bus escaped unhurt, the official said, adding that most of the deceased belonged to Punjab. Soon after the incident, Levies and Frontier Corps personnel rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. Rescue workers shifted the bodies and injured to Bolan Medical Complex Hospital in Quetta. The Hazara Democratic Party, Tahfuz Azadari Council and Shia Ulema Council strongly condemned the killing of innocent people and announced a three-day mourning. Shia Ulema Council’s head Allama Juma Asadi and Hazara Qaumi Jirga leader Qayyum Nazar Changezai condemned the brutal killing.
They demanded the Supreme Court and central government take prompt action against culprits involved in slaughtering Shias. President Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the attack and expressed sympathy with the families of the victims, directing authorities to provide the best medical treatment to the injured. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf condemned the attack as well.

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