At least 42 people were killed following a loud explosion inside the Civil Hospital here on Monday, police said. Over 30 people have been injured in the attack.
“The blast occurred after a number of lawyers and some journalists had gathered at the hospital following the death of the president of the Balochistan Bar Association in a separate shooting incident early this morning,” said Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Harifal.
Condemning the attack, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri told local TV channel Geo News that Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was behind terror incidents in Quetta.
The CM shared this statement with the media before initial investigations into today’s blast were completed, and before the nature of the blast was confirmed.
Zehri said the attack appeared to be a suicide attack, but police are still investigating.
More than 50 mourners were entering the emergency department of the hospital, accompanying Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi’s body, when the bomb went off, Faridullah, a journalist who was at the scene, told Reuters.
Senior police official Zahoor Ahmed Afridi said most of the dead were lawyers. Several lawyers including the former president of Balochistan Bar Association Baz Mohammad Kakar were reported injured
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which struck at the gates of the building housing the emergency ward.
TV reports said people exited the hospital in a state of chaos. Aerial firing could be heard at the hospital premises.
Journalists present at the premises also came in the line of fire and the cameraman for DawnNews was severely injured in the explosion. Shahzad Khan, a cameraman associated with Aaj TV, was killed in the blast.
Police surrounded the hospital and cordoned off the area after the blast. An emergency was declared in hospitals across Quetta and several injured were shifted to these for treatment.