An explosion near Quetta’s Pishin Stop on Saturday night claimed at least 15 lives and left at least 32 injured.
“We can now confirm that 15 people have died in the explosion today. At least 32 others are wounded,” Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said following the suspected suicide blast, which reportedly targeted a vehicle carrying military personnel.
The deceased include members of the armed forces and civilians, said the provincial home minister. The dead and injured were rushed to Civil Hospital Quetta.
A spokesman for the Balochistan government, Anwarul Haq Kakar, also confirmed the toll.
According to a statement issued by the military’s media wing, eight security personnel were martyred in the blast.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that an on-duty security vehicle was targeted in the blast, adding that 10 security officials were also among those injured in the attack.
“Incendiary explosive was used in the blast due to which nearby vehicles caught fire,” ISPR reported.
An emergency has been declared in the city following the incident.
“It would be unfair to call the incident a security lapse,” Bugti said. The terrorists do not want the people to celebrate Independence Day, he added.
“We are trying to provide best possible facilities to the injured people,” he said, adding that the holidays of all doctors in the city were suspended.
The Balochistan Assembly, Quetta Law College, a private hospital and many offices are located in the vicinity where the explosion occurred.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
Balochistan has faced a number of security challenges in recent months, with security personnel in the province often being targeted in roadside explosions.
At least 14 people ─ including seven policemen ─ lost their lives, while 19 others were injured in a suicide blast that shook Shuhada Chowk in Quetta’s Gulistan Road area in June.
Earlier in June, three security officials were injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) seemingly targeted their vehicle in the Johan area of Kalat.
Days later, two navy sailors were martyred and at least three others were wounded when their vehicle was attacked in the Jiwani area of Gwadar district.
In May, at least 10 labourers were killed in Balochistan’s Gwadar district when unidentified assailants opened fire at the construction site where they were working.