Islamabad, Aug 8: A powerful blast ripped through a crowd in a Quetta hospital on Monday killing 70 people, mainly lawyers, in one of the worst terror attacks in Pakistan this year, officials said.
Balochistan Health Minister Rehmat Baloch had earlier told ARY News that 93 people had died. But he clarified later that the death toll stood at 70 and that the others had been injured, many grievously.
Doctors warned that the death toll could rise.
The deafening blast, heard clearly on video, took place in the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital when nearly 100 lawyers had gathered to collect the body of a lawyer shot dead hours earlier.
Baloch said a suicide bomber carried out the carge. A bomb disposal squad said the bomber had eight to 10 kg of explosives hidden in his vest, Xinhua news agency said. Police found the limbs of the bomber.
ARY News said the dead included 25 lawyers and two jourlists, including Aaj TV cameraman Shehzad Khan, who could be heard clearly on the camera reciting the “Kalma” in a groaning voice as he died.
As Balochistan, Pakistan’s biggest province by area, declared three days of mourning, Prime Minister waz Sharif flew to Quetta. Army chief Raheel Sharif visited the injured in the Civil Hospital.
Balochistan Chief Minister Saullah Zehri blamed the Indian intelligence agency RAW, saying it was responsible for incidents of terror in Quetta.
His comments came even before the police could say who was responsible for the horrific attack.
The lawyers were at the hospital in large numbers to collect the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi, the president of the Balochistan Bar Association who was killed earlier in the city.
Several lawyers, including Baz Mohammad Kakar, the former president of the Balochistan Bar Association, were injured, Dawn reported.
Gunfire erupted after the explosion.
A stampede broke out after the bombing, causing chaos at the hospital, media reports said. Smoke filled the corridors of the emergency ward while lawyers rushed into the hospital with stretchers to help the wounded. (IANS)