Quetta: A bomb hidden among bags of potatoes at a Pakistani
market killed at least 16 people, half of them ethnic Hazaras, officials said,
in an attack apparently aimed at minority Shi’ite Muslims.
At least 30 people were wounded in the blast in the
southwestern city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province, officials said.
The attack came after a lull of at least a year in attacks
against Hazaras, though there have been isolated shootings.
The blast took place at Hazar Ganji, a fruit and vegetable
market on the outskirts of Quetta.
“So far, I have confirmation of 16 martyrs – eight belong to
the Hazara community, seven others who worked here one is from the Frontier
Constabulary,” Abdul Razzaq Cheema, Deputy Inspector General of Quetta, told
The explosive device was hidden between sacks of potatoes,
he said.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hazaras have been frequently targeted by Taliban and Islamic
State militants and other Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and
Afghanistan.In 2013, three separate bombings killed more than 200 people in
After a series of attacks, security forces started escorting
Hazara buses to the market. On Friday, the same practice was followed but the
blast took place inside.
Baluchistan is the focus of projects in the USD 57 billion
China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned to run
from western China to Pakistan’s southern deepwater port of Gwadar.