News / Asia

65 Killed in Pakistan Bombing

Paramedics and families stand near victims of a bomb attack in a Shi'ite Muslim area, at a hospital in Quetta, Feb. 16, 2013.
Paramedics and families stand near victims of a bomb attack in a Shi'ite Muslim area, at a hospital in Quetta, Feb. 16, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Police in Pakistan say an apparent suicide bomb blast has killed at least 65 people and wounded nearly 200 in the southwestern city Quetta.  Most of the victims are minority Shi'ite Muslims.

The bomb exploded Saturday evening in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.  Doctors say some of the wounded are in critical condition.

The city police chief, Mir Zubair Mehmood, tells VOA the powerful bomb ripped through a crowded vegetable and fruit market in a part of Quetta dominated by Shi'ite Muslims, locally known as the Hazara community.

“It was a water bowser [mobile water tank], which was towed behind a tractor, and that water bowser was loaded with the explosive material," Mehmood explained.  "We estimate around 800 kilograms of explosive material was loaded in there.  We can’t say definitely, but it appears it was a suicide attack and at that point in time there were a lot of people shopping.”

A Pakistani man comforts another mourning for a family member who died in a bomb blast, at local hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2013.A Pakistani man comforts another mourning for a family member who died in a bomb blast, at local hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2013.
x
A Pakistani man comforts another mourning for a family member who died in a bomb blast, at local hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2013.
A Pakistani man comforts another mourning for a family member who died in a bomb blast, at local hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2013.
The police chief says the explosion caused the collapse of a two-story commercial building in the market, leaving many victims buried under the rubble.

A banned Sunni militant organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s bombing.

A leader of the ethnic Hazara community, Abdul Khaliq Hazara, tells VOA repeated attacks are meant to drag them into a sectarian conflict in Quetta and force them to leave the city.

“They provoke us to be involved in a civil war.  We are very peace-loving people," Hazara insisted.  "We never want to be involved in terrorist activities.  We are education-oriented people.  We are peaceful people.  We want progress in the city.”

The Shi'ite leader reiterated a demand for the Pakistani military to take control of the city, alleging the police and paramilitary forces have failed to provide them security.
The Dari-speaking Hazars migrated to Pakistan from neighboring Afghanistan more than a century ago and have mostly settled in Quetta.

Local residents gather at a road as smoke rise from the site of a bomb blast in a market in Quetta, Pakistan, Feb. 16, 2013.Local residents gather at a road as smoke rise from the site of a bomb blast in a market in Quetta, Pakistan, Feb. 16, 2013.
x
Local residents gather at a road as smoke rise from the site of a bomb blast in a market in Quetta, Pakistan, Feb. 16, 2013.
Local residents gather at a road as smoke rise from the site of a bomb blast in a market in Quetta, Pakistan, Feb. 16, 2013.
Saturday’s incident is the second deadliest attack on the Shi'ite community in the city this year.  A double bombing January 10 killed 92 people.  Relatives as well as leaders of the Shi'ite community were so angry that they refused to bury their dead for days.

The protest ended after Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf dismissed the provincial government and imposed direct federal rule in Baluchistan.

The provincial governor says Sunday will be a day of mourning across the province, while parties representing the Shi'ite community have called a strike in Quetta to protest the latest attack.

Human rights groups say sectarian attacks have increased recently in predominantly Sunni Pakistan, where last year more than 400 Shi'ite Muslims were killed.  Sunni extremists view the Shi'ites as heretics and non-Muslims.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs