Islamabad: The death toll in Friday’s blasts targeting civilians and security personnel in Quetta and Parachinar areas of Pakistan has risen to 63.
Nine of the deceased had suffered severe injuries in the twin Parachinar blasts. They succumbed overnight, reported local media. More than 200 Injured people are being treated in hospitals.
Most casualties happened in Parachinar – 50 dead and about 200 wounded – because a second bomb attack was timed to target people rushing to help victims injured in a prior explosion, reports Dawn news.
Eyewitnesses in Parachinar said the first blast, which took place in the busy Turi Market where people were shopping for Eid, occurred minutes after an Al Quds Day rally had started dispersing at some distance from the blast site.
Muhammad Hussain, who sustained injuries in the incident, told Dawn that he was heading for his poultry shop after the conclusion of the Al Quds rally when the first blast took place. Another explosion shook the area soon after a large number of people rushed to the site to help the injured.
“I lost consciousness after the second blast and later found myself on a hospital bed,” Hussain said.
The medical superintendent of Parachinar’s district headquarters hospital, Sabir Hussain, said that army choppers airlifted 11 seriously injured people to Peshawar. He said some bodies might also have been taken away from the blast site.
The town, which has been caught in the crosshairs of militants for the past several years, was virtually cut off as communication links were broken soon after the incident.
“Better ask the hospital about death toll as we are dealing with a security situation,” a political administration official told Dawn when approached for comment.
While no group claimed responsibility for the twin attacks in Parachinar, two outfits said they had carried out the suicide car bomb blast in Quetta – Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, and, according to the SITI intelligence group, the Islamic State group.
The attack left seven policemen and a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Nazaryati) dead, as well as 24 others injured.
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The bombing took place in front of the Balochistan police inspector general’s office at Shuhada Chowk.
Sources said that law enforcement agencies had received a threat alert over the possibility of such an attack.
Provincial government spokesperson Anwar-ul Haq Kakar said it was likely that the attacker wanted to target the IGP’s office. However, the IGP was not in his office when the bomb went off, a constable said.
There are several important government offices in the vicinity of Shuhada Chowk, including the State Bank of Pakistan, the Army’s China check post, the entry to the Quetta Cantonment and the residence of the provincial home minister.
A vehicle carrying army personnel was damaged in the blast, and a captain and three soldiers were injured.
With IANS Inputs
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