Bomb kills 64 in Pakistan's Quetta

GUL YOUSUFZAI
Last updated 07:11 17/02/2013
Pakistan bombing
Reuters
PAKISTAN BOMBING: Smoke rises after a bomb attack in a Shi'ite Muslim area of the Pakistani city of Quetta that killed 64 people, including school children.

Relevant offers

Asia

Fisherman kept possibly world's largest pearl for 10 years under his bed 1900 people killed in Philippines war on drugs since new president took office Bali cop killed in 'bloody rampage' by British DJ, police claim Japanese monks compete peacefully in Most Handsome Monks pageant Head in sofa saga for boy in China British DJ David Taylor, boyfriend of Australian Sara Connor, admits bashing Bali policeman Co-accused suspect in Bali police officer's death spent time DJing in New Zealand Surgeons in India remove 40 knives from man's stomach Australian Sara Connor's blood found at crime scene where Bali cop died - police Gobi, the stray dog who followed Aussie ultramarathon runner for 125km, goes missing

Sixty-four people including school children died on Saturday in a bomb attack carried out by extremists from Pakistan's Sunni Muslim majority, police said.

A spokesman for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni group, claimed responsibility for the bomb in Quetta, which caused casualties in the town's main bazaar, a school and a computer centre. Police said most of the victims were Shi'ites.

Burned school bags and books were strewn around.

"The explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device fitted to a motorcycle," said Wazir Khan Nasir, deputy inspector general of police in Quetta.

"This is a continuation of terrorism against Shi'ites."

"I saw many bodies of women and children," said an eyewitness at a hospital. "At least a dozen people were burned to death by the blast."

Most Western intelligence agencies have regarded the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda as the gravest threat to nuclear-armed Pakistan, a strategic US ally.

But Pakistani law enforcement officials say Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has become a formidable force.

TENSIONS

Last month the group said it carried out a bombing in Quetta that killed nearly 100 people, one of Pakistan's worst sectarian attacks. Thousands of Shi'ites protested in several cities after that attack.

Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups, led by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, have escalated their bombings and shootings of Shi'ites to trigger violence that would pave the way for a Sunni theocracy in US-allied Pakistan.

More than 400 Shi'ites were killed in Pakistan last year, many by hitmen or bombs, and the perpetrators are almost never caught. Some hardline Shi'ite groups have hit back by killing Sunni clerics.

The growing sectarian violence has hurt the credibility of the government, which has already faced criticism ahead of elections due in May for its inability to tackle corruption and economic stagnation.

The schism between Sunnis and Shi'ites developed after the Prophet Muhammad died in 632 when his followers could not agree on a successor.

Emotions over the issue are highly potent even today, pushing some countries, including Iraq five years ago, to the brink of civil war.

Pakistan is nowhere near that stage but officials worry that Sunni extremist groups have succeeded in dramatically ratcheting up tensions and provoking revenge attacks in their bid to destabilise the country.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content