Suicide bombing at Quetta’s Civil Hospital leaves 70 dead

Pakistani lawyers talk on mobiles next to bodies of their colleagues after a bomb explosion at a government hospital premises in Quetta on August 8, 2016. At least 35 people were killed and dozens more wounded after a blast at a major hospital in the Pakistani city of Quetta, an AFP reporter and officials said, with fears the toll could rise. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN
Pakistani lawyers talk on mobiles next to bodies of their colleagues after a bomb explosion at a government hospital premises in Quetta on August 8, 2016.
At least 35 people were killed and dozens more wounded after a blast at a major hospital in the Pakistani city of Quetta, an AFP reporter and officials said, with fears the toll could rise. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN

QUETTA: At least 70 people were killed and as many as 112 people injured when a powerful explosion ripped through Quetta’s Civil Hospital on Monday.

The explosion took place when Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Kasi’s body was being brought to the emergency department. He was gunned down at Mano Jan Road earlier today. Former Balochistan Bar President Baz Muhammad Kakar was injured in the attack. He later succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.

Police said that unknown men opened fire after the blast. Panic tore through the hospital after the incident. The blast occurred near the emergency department of the hospital.

Hospital officials confirmed the death toll.

Dr Abdul Rehman, the medical superintendent at the Civil Hospital, said 102 injured people were being treated at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) while 10 were getting medical treatment at the Balochistan Medical Complex.

Director General Health Services Balochistan Dr Masood Nosherwani said 26 critically injured patients were being shifted to Karachi for further medical treatment.

He said that all surgeons employed by the government were sent to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for treatment of those injured in the attack.

Most of the injured are lawyers and journalists who had arrived at the hospital when they heard news of the attack on the two senior lawyers, eyewitnesses said.

An Aaj News cameraman was killed in the attack while a Dawn News cameraman was severely injured and later succumbed to his wounds.

Security forces cordoned off the area, while mobile phone jammers were installed in the surrounding areas of the Civil Hospital.

A state of emergency was declared at all hospitals in Quetta.

Police said it was a suicide attack where eight kilograms of explosives were used.

The Daesh militant group claimed responsibility of the attack.

The provincial capital has been at the receiving end of several such acts of terror. In May this year two people were killed and five injured when an explosion occurred at the main entrance of Baluchistan University.

RAW involved in attack

Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri claimed that the Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) involved in the attack. He added that it was a suicide attack.

Zehri said that the terrorists were attacking soft targets. “Even in times of war no one attacks a hospital,” he said, adding that they will root out terrorists.

The chief minister could not provide a death toll for the attack, but said that over 40 have been injured.

PM condemns the attack

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the loss of precious life and ordered the provincial government to arrest the culprits. “No one will be allowed to disrupt the peace of the province,” the prime minister said.

He added that security forces had laid down their lives to establish peace in the province. He instructed the provincial government to give the best medical treatment to the injured.

Lawyers stage protest

The Supreme Court Bar Association announced a week-long mourning over the attack. Lawyers in the Lahore High Court announced a protest demonstration today condemning the attack.

At a press conference held in Lahore SC Bar President Ali Zafar condemned the attack. “This is not just an attack on lawyers, this is an attack on all citizens. We have always stood with democratic forces. And we have been targeted.”

Speaking to Commander Southern Command Lt General Amir Riaz who was visiting the injured, a lawyer amid tears complained that they were not allowed to bring their motor bikes and cars inside the hospital. “We are all civilized people. But we were not allowed to bring our cars or motorbike inside when we brought Bilal Kasi’s body. If the bomber can come inside why can’t we?” he said.

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