70 killed in blast at Quetta's, Islamabad civil hospital after lawyer's killing

At least 70 people were killed and over 100 others injured when a bomb exploded inside Quetta’s Civil Hospital on Monday.

The blast, followed by firing, occurred as mourners gathered at the hospital after Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the provincial capital.
The responsibility for the attack was later claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar.
“The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar takes responsibility for this attack, and pledges to continue carrying out such attacks. We will release a video report on this soon,” spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said in an email.
An overview of the scene of a bomb blast outside the Civil Hospital in Quetta on August 8, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

70 killed in blast at Quetta's, Islamabad civil hospital after lawyer's killing

Television footage from the site showed scenes of chaos, with panicked mourners fleeing through debris as smoke filled the corridors of the hospital’s emergency ward.
“The death toll has risen to 70 and there are 112 injured,” the head of the provincial health department, Dr Masood Nausherwani, told reporters.
A file photo of Balochistan Bar Association president Bilal Anwar Kasi. PHOTO: EXPRESS
A heavy contingent of Frontier Corps and police arrived and cordoned the hospital following the blast, restricting access to the area.
Relatives mourn next to bodies of victims after a bomb explosion at the Civil Hospital premises in Quetta on August 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP
Kasi was targeted by two unidentified gunmen who opened fire on his car near Mengal Chowk on Mannu Jan road.
The subsequent suicide attack appeared to target his mourners, Anwarul Haq Kakar, a spokesperson for the Balochistan government, said. “It seems it was a pre-planned attack,” he said.
More than 50 mourners, including lawyers and journalists were entering the emergency department of the hospital, accompanying Kasi’s body, when the bomb went off, Faridullah, a journalist who was at the scene, told Reuters.
An army soldier comforts a mourner after the killing of a victim in a bomb explosion at Civil Hospital in Quetta on August 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP
Aaj TV journalist Shehzad Ahmed was also killed in the blast, whileDawn News cameraman who was critical, also succumbed to injuries.
Following the incident, emergency was declared in hospitals across Quetta.
Similarly, 29 patients were brought to Karachi to be admitted in hospitals for further treatment.
PM, army chief visit the injured
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army chief General Raheel Sharif arrived at the Civil Hospital Quetta and inquired after the injured victims of the blast.
The two directed the authorities concerned to provide best medical care to those admitted at the hospital.
“The COAS visited Balochistan High Court and offered condolences to chief justice Balochistan and the panel of judges,” Director General Inter-Service Public Relations Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa tweeted.

“General Raheel visited Civil Hospital and expressed solidarity with the injured. Serious patients have been shifted to Combined Military Hospital,” he added.

Two Quetta blast victims have been shifted to Karachi for immediate treatment, Bajwa said, while adding that about 20 more will be shifted on a military plane to various cities.

The premier was accompanied by his close aides from Balochistan including, Lieutenant General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Hasil Bazinjo.
Targeted killings have become increasingly common in Quetta, the capital of a province that has seen rising violence linked to a separatist insurgency as well as sectarian tensions and rising crime.
President Mamnoon, PM Nawaz strongly condemn Quetta blast
Earlier, President Mamnoon Hussain and the prime minister strongly condemned the blast, Radio Pakistan reported.
Deploring the loss of precious lives in the incident, the PM directed the authorities concerned to maintain utmost vigilance and beef up security for the legal fraternity and members of civil society.
“No one will be allowed to disturb peace in the province that has been restored due to countless sacrifices of security forces, police and the people of Balochistan,” he said.

RAW behind Quetta attack, claims Balochistan CM
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri claimed the attack was carried out by Indian premier spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
“I have the evidence of RAW’s involvement in Quetta’s attack which I will share with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the foreign ministry,” Zehri said while speaking to Express News.
The chief minister said he has, at times, provided evidence of Indian involvement in stoking unrest in the province.
Besides ordering an inquiry, the chief minister announced a three-day mourning period.
Commander southern command inquires after injured
Commander Southern Command Lt-Gen Amir Riaz visited the civil hospital and inquired after the injured. He also directed the authorities concerned to provide best medical facilities to those injured in the blast.
PBC calls for nationwide strike, one week of mourning
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) called for a nationwide strike on August 9 and one week of mourning.
PBC’s vice-chairman Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem and chairman executive committee Abdul Fayaz strongly condemned the assassination of Kasi and the blast in Civil Hospital. They appealed the lawyers to observe a country-wide strike tomorrow i.e. Tuesday August 9 and one week of morning.
“The lawyers, while observing the strike and mourning, will hold protest meetings in their bar rooms and wear black bands to condemn the tragic incident,” a statement said.
CJP condemns Quetta attack
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali also condemned the attack.
Attack ‘particularly appalling’: UN chief
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing, saying it was “particularly appalling” that the suicide attack targeted a group of mourners.
“The targeting of mourners at a civilian hospital makes the attack particularly appalling,” said Ban’s spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Ban urged the Pakistan government to do its utmost to bring those behind the attack to justice.
Islamic State claims responsibility for Pakistan hospital suicide attack
Islamic State claimed responsibility, the group’s Amaq news agency reported.
“A martyr from the Islamic State detonated his explosive belt at a gathering of justice ministry employees and Pakistani policemen in the city of Quetta,” Amaq said.
The Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar has also claimed responsibility for the attack.

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