Karachi: A bloody day in Quetta today left at least 12 people dead and 45 others injured in a series of attacks, including a suicide bombing targeting Pakistan's top religious leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman who survived the bid on his life.
Rehman was attacked by a suicide bomber outside a rally venue in Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan province, killing at least two people and injuring 30 others. The blast occurred when the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief was leaving after addressing the massive rally where over 20,000 of his supporters had gathered, officials said.
“I was the target of the attack but God saved me. My vehicle was bullet and bomb proof so I survived but the vehicle has been destroyed,” Rehman said. Terming the attack as a suicide bombing, Rehman said, “I don't know who wants to kill me.
I am religious man and chief of a religious party which wants peace in the country”. Banned militant group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jundallah has in the past also carried out attacks on other politicians and government officials.
According to the bomb disposal squad, six to eight kilogrammes of explosives were used in the attack. The injured were shifted to Civil Hospital, where six were said to be in a critical condition.
In a separate incident, at least two people were killed and 14 others injured in a roadside bombing on Qambrani Road here, police said.
A vehicle of paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) was targeted with a remote controlled bomb. Unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire following the blast that hit the FC vehicle.
“Two civilians were killed and 14 people including two FC soldiers injured,” Senior police official Imran Qureshi said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Baloch nationalists often target security forces in the province.
Before this assault, unidentified gunmen today killed at least eight Shia Muslims, members of the ethnic Hazara community, here.
The victims were travelling in a bus when gunmen attacked them in Hazar Ganji area of Quetta.
Senior police officer Qureshi told reporters that eight members of the Hazara community were killed and one person was injured in the attack.
“This is an act of targeted killing,” he said. The attackers escaped after the attack and police was searching for them.
Nobody took responsibility of the attack but Sunni militant groups such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) regularly target the Shia community.