- 13, including 11 security personnel, killed in multiple terror attacks across country
- President, PM, Balochistan CM express grief over loss of lives
QUETTA/BANNU: At least 13 people were killed in multiple terror attacks on security personnel across Pakistan on Wednesday in what is being seen as a fresh wave of terrorism following the re-emergence of drones over the Pak-Afghan border.
In this fresh wave of terror, nine people were killed in two attacks in Quetta, while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu district and North Waziristan four security personnel died as a result of improvised explosive device (IED) blasts.
In the blast that ripped through a police vehicle in Quetta’s Sariab Mill area, eight people were killed, including seven policemen, and 24 injured, among them 15 policemen. According to first-hand accounts of the witnesses, it was a suicide blast, which was later confirmed by the police.
DIG Abdul Razzaq Cheema confirmed the death toll, and said that 24 people were severely wounded. He feared the death toll might climb.
In a message to media outlets from an undisclosed location, Taliban spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani claimed the responsibility for the attack in Quetta, and said they wanted to target the Frontier Corps (FC).
Soon after the blast, security officials reached the site and cordoned off the area. Rescue teams transferred the injured to the nearby Civil Hospital and Combined Military Hospital (CMH) where an emergency was declared.
According to reports, a 35-strong contingent of Elite policemen had been recently assigned patrol of various sensitive areas and was on its way when the explosion took place on the Quetta-Sibi road, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti said, adding that it was “apparently a suicide attack”.
He said the war against terrorism was not over and would go on until the last terrorist was eliminated. Bugti said a forensic team and the Bomb Disposal Squad had been called to the site to investigate the nature of the blast. He further said that a forensic team from Lahore would arrive in Quetta tomorrow (Thursday) to aid in the probe.
Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri told reporters that the bomb contained 80 kilogrammes of explosive material.
POLICEMAN GUNNED DOWN: In a separate incident, Police Inspector Abdul Salam was gunned down on Quetta’s Qambrani Road. According to initial reports, Abdul Salam was shot multiple times in what was reported as a targeted killing. The body of the victim was shifted to the Civil Hospital, Quetta, for autopsy.
TWO SECURITY PERSONNEL KILLED IN BANNU: An improvised explosive device (IED) blast left two security personnel dead in Bannu. The victims were identified as sepoy Tasawar Ali and sepoy Ghulam Rabani. However, no one claimed the responsibility for the attack. An investigation has been launched into the attack.
TWO SECURITY PERSONNEL KILLED IN N. WAZIRISTAN: In a separate incident in North Waziristan, two security personnel were killed in a roadside blast. The blast which was carried out remotely occurred near Kajhori check post when the security forces were patrolling the area, a security official said, adding the IED had been planted along Miran Shah road. After the blast, security forces cordoned off the area and started a search operation.
CONDEMNATIONS: Condemnations started pouring in from all over the country following the blast. President Mamnoon and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Quetta and paid tribute to the police personnel who laid their lives in the line of duty.
“These cowardly attacks cannot shake our unflinching national resolve against terrorism and extremism,” the prime minister said in a statement. PM Abbasi expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives during the terrorist attack.
He prayed for the eternal peace of departed souls and grant of courage to the families to bear this irreparable loss and also directed best medical treatment for the injured and prayed for their swift recovery.
Meanwhile, Sanaullah Zehri also expressed condolences over Quetta blast. He said, “I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wish strength and endurance to all those who suffered from the attack.”
Home Minister Bugti, while condemning the attack, said the war against terrorism was not over and would go on until no terrorist remained in the area. He also said that these cowardly attacks would not hinder the security forces in executing their duties.
Other leaders who condemned the attack included Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir and Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb. They expressed a deep sense of sorrow over the loss of precious human lives in the tragic incident.
Pakistan has faced many attacks on security forces since the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and then Operation Raddul Fasaad, particularly Balochistan and FATA. Balochistan has faced many such attacks in recent months, with security personnel in the province often being targeted in roadside explosions and suicide attacks. On August 13 this year, at least 15 people, including eight soldiers, were martyred when a military truck was targeted in Quetta. Earlier in June, 14 people ─ including seven policemen ─ were killed in a powerful blast in Quetta’s Gulistan Road area.
In October 2016, armed militants wearing suicide vests stormed a police academy in Quetta, killing at least 61 people and wounding at least 117 in the deadliest attack on a security installation in the country’s history.