AP Photo/ Arshad Butt
Smoke rises from the site of a bomb blast in a market in Quetta, Pakistan.
69 Killed, 200 Injured in Blast in Southwest Pakistan
Sixty-nine people, including women and children, were killed and nearly 200 injured when a powerful bomb ripped through a Shia neighbourhood of Quetta city in southwest Pakistan today, the latest in a string of attacks targeting the minority community.

The blast occurred at Kirani Road in Hazara Town, a suburb of Quetta with a large Shia population that has been targeted by terrorists in the past.

The area was crowded at the time of the blast.

The bomb was hidden in a vehicle and triggered by remote control, DIG Wazir Khan Nasir told reporters.

He said the Shia Hazara community was the target of the attack.

The death toll rose to 69 after several bodies were pulled out the rubble of a two-storey building that collapsed.

About 200 injured were taken to three hospitals. Several women and children were among the dead.

Officials said the vehicle with the bomb was parked near the pillar of a building in a market. The building collapsed due to the intensity of the blast.

An estimated 100 kg of explosives was used in the attack, officials said.

"The blast was so intense that it razed a two storey building to the ground and they are still some people trapped under the debris which is being cleared in a extensive rescue operation," Quetta's city police chief Mir Zubair told PTI.

A spokesman for the banned extremist group Lashkar-e- Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack.

Footage on television showed several buildings were reduced to piles of rubble by the blast that was heard all over Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan province.

Several shops and vehicles were also destroyed. Angry people took to the streets and protested against the attack.

The protesters pelted vehicles with stones and prevented rescue workers and police from approaching the site of the blast for some time. They also blocked roads and fired in the air.

Security forces cordoned off the area and did not allow the media to approach the site of the blast.

Officials said this was done as terrorists had set off a bigger bomb after a smaller initial blast in recent attacks.

Similar attacks in the recent past have also been blamed on the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a notorious militant group that often targets Shias.

On January 10, a twin suicide attack in Quetta killed 92 Hazara Shias and injured over 100, the highest toll in a single attack on Shias, who make up 20 per cent of Pakistan's population of 180 million.

Following the attack, the federal government imposed Governor's Rule in Balochistan.

President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and directed him to personally oversee rescue and relief operations.

Zardari further said all possible steps should be taken to protect the Shia Hazaras.

Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf condemned the attack and reiterated the government's resolve to continue the fight against militants.

"We will not be intimidated by such cowardly acts and such acts will not deter our resolve to fight terrorism," Ashraf said.

Shia groups and political parties asked people to observe three days of mourning and called for a strike in Quetta tomorrow to protest the killing of members of the minority community.

The Balochistan government announced a day of mourning tomorrow.

Governor Magsi said the seriously injured would be flown in military aircraft to Karachi for treatment.

He announced a reward of Rs 10 million for anyone who provides information about the perpetrators of the attack.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

4/D-96
Feb 17, 2013
07:50 PM

Sharia ruled Pak killed 3000000 Bangali Muslisms and Hindus ,reduced the Hundus-Christains population from 24 % to a couple of hundreds in Pak .

Now they are cleanising Shias, Ahemedias ,Bohras etc.All Muslims because no Kafir is left to be annihilated.

This is the land of Pures which they got courtesy Britishers because Zinnah and Muslim League staunchly stood with Goras against India . .
And now Muslims have made the Pakistan the land of killers.Pakistan Army and ISI train Indian Islamic Terrorists in their camps in name of Islam who subsequently are let loose to spread mayhem,killings and blasts in India like they have been doing in Pakistan

And if our Judiciary give judgment to hang Guru like traitors then our Muslims and some of our renegade Hindus too start beating breasts 'Hai Hai Insaaf nahin hua .Wakil galat tha. Jusgement bhi not properly worded.'

Islamic Killers trained by Pakis can kill hundreds of Indians but in turn if we hang one of these Traitor Indians after following due process of Law then Insaaf nahin hua ji !

Watch these traitors in collusion with Pak will make India another Pakistan not due to ignorance but deliberatley .These traitors trying to make hanging of Afzakl Guru as delibrate act of Indians aginst Muslims .
This pure and deliberate effort to increase the divide between the two races .

Pakistan toh gaya but atleast let us try not India be taken on the same destructive path .

ASHOK KUMAR GHAI
Mumbai, India
3/D-56
Feb 17, 2013
11:56 AM

 Sober people must question whether religion, especially deep religiosity, has been a good thing for mankind.

ashok lal, mumbai
2/D-4
Feb 17, 2013
12:47 AM

Hear this, the people of Kashmir:

Your religion is derived from the peaceful base and preachings of Sufism and there are significant numbers of you who are Shiites.

You mourn and complain about the hanging of one who contributed to an attack on the Indian parliament, which resulted in 14 deaths.  And you aspire to be free to join Pakistan.

This news today is what awaits you once you join Pakistan: you will be completely wiped out.  

The Pak. govt already showed its brutality by trying to curb your brethren and such Shiite sentiments in POK areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.  It did this by unleashing the Sunni tribal hordes from its NW tribal areas onto POK.  Pakistan and its Wahhabi sunni establishment are not interested in your welfare. It wants your lands and will flood it with the sunni tribes, just to entrench unbridled loyalty and no dissent from your Kashmiri lands.   When Hafeez Saeed sheds his crocodile tears for you, how many times did he shed real tears when such butchery and mass murder like this happens every day inside Pakistan?  He is not for you, but after your lands.

THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU SAY "KASHMIR BANEGA PAKISTAN", FOR IF GOD FORBID AND YOUR WISHES COME TRUE, AND THEN YOU MAY ACTUALLY END UP WITH "KASHMIR BANGAYA KHABARASTAN".

Your destiny lies with India and it is for you to decide and negotiate what kind of life you want within its setup.

Non Fanatic, London
1/D-167
Feb 16, 2013
11:47 PM

Eradicating all Saudi-Wahhabi influence must be Pakistan's top priority. This perverse creed is as inimical to Shias as it is to the bulk of the Sunni community.

Anwaar, Dallas
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