QUETTA: A roadside bomb explosion injured at least 17 people, including five policemen, in Quetta on Thursday just three days after the deadly hospital blast that left more than 70 people dead.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told the media that a remote-controlled bomb was planted on Sariab Flyover in the Zarghoon Road area apparently to target the security forces.
Justice Zahoor Shahwani of the Federal Shariat Court narrowly escaped the bombing as he was on his way to the court when the blast took place, Bugti said. Around four kilograms of explosives were used in the homemade bomb. Two vehicles and two motorcycles were destroyed in the attack.
The injured victims of the blast were taken to the Quetta Civil Hospital – the same healthcare facility where 75 people, mostly lawyers, were killed in a suicide bombing on Monday. All of the injured were said to be in a stable condition. Medical Superintendent Abdul Rahman Miankhel said the five injured policemen were later shifted to the Combined Military Hospital.
The home minister believed the attackers did not want to target the judge but the policemen escorting him to the court. He claimed the spike in terror incidents was meant to disrupt the activities of the upcoming Independence Day on August 14.
No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack so far.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders in the National Assembly and the Senate berated the government for its failure to protect the life of citizens.
“These deadly incidents will never stop until the government ensures complete implementation of the National Action Plan [against terrorism],” Khurshid Shah, who leads the opposition in the lower house of parliament, said while talking to reporters in Quetta. “We have yet to see the government take any serious measures to prevent such attacks in the future.”
The PPP leader was in Balochistan’s provincial capital leading a delegation to meet lawyers and relatives of the victims of the Civil Hospital blast. Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Nafisa Shah and Sindh cabinet ministers Nasir Shah and Mumtaz Jhakrani accompanied him.
Shah also lashed out at the interior minister for issuing ‘irresponsible statements’. He added the government should focus on protecting the citizens instead of issuing statements of holding meetings.
He also lamented the interior minister had still not visited Quetta after the carnage “because he knows he cannot face the questions of people”.
Opposition Leader in Senate Aitzaz Ahsan seconded Shah and said the National Action Plan against terrorism was designed with the consensus of all political parties. “We all agreed on 20 points, and wanted to implement each and every point,” he said, adding that security agencies had failed to stop yet another bombing within four days.
The PPP delegation called for the formation of a welfare trust to bear the expenses of the treatment of injured lawyers and the education of the children and families of the lawyers killed in Monday’s blast.