At least five dead in SW Pakistan explosion
Quetta (Pakistan) (AFP) – An explosion targeting a police vehicle in Pakistan’s southwestern Quetta city on Friday killed at least five people and injured 14 others, officials said.
The explosion occurred in front of the office of the police chief in Quetta city, which is capital of the mineral rich southern Balochistan province rife with the separatist and Islamist insurgencies.
“We have received five dead bodies from the blast site,” doctor Fareed Ahmed, Medical Superintendent at civil hospital told AFP.
“Some 14 people are brought wounded. Six of them are in critical condition,” he said.
Police said that their vehicle was targeted in the attack however nature of the explosion was yet unknown.
“The blast targeted a police pick-up in front of the IG (Inspector General) office. A motorcycle was also destroyed in the explosion,” Mohammed Tariq, a senior police official said.
Pakistan has been battling Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in Balochistan since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting.
Bordering Iran and Afghanistan, it is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.
A greater push towards peace and development by Pakistani authorities has reduced the violence considerably in recent years.
The push includes starting work on a massive Chinese infrastructure project — the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — which gives Beijing a route to the Arabian Sea through Balochistan’s deep sea port of Gwadar.
Beijing is ramping up investment in its South Asian neighbour as part of a plan unveiled in 2015 that will link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.