QUETTA – At least 15 people, among them 12 police and a paramilitary official, were killed and over a dozen others injured in a blast targeting police outside a polio vaccination centre in Quetta.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the attack on Facebook and in an email sent to journalists.
Today is the third day of a three-day anti-polio campaign which was launched in Quetta and other districts of Baluchistan on Monday. The campaign in Quetta was temporarily suspended following the blast.
The campaign is to target 2.4 million children under the age of five. Over 55,000 children of Afghan refugees are to be immunized under the campaign.
“Body pieces of the suicide bomber have been collected by security agencies to initiate a probe into the incident,” said the official.
Dawood Khilji, Quetta’s deputy commissioner, said the death toll had risen to 15, with 13 police officers and two passer-by confirmed dead. About 20 people were injured.
One of the police officers who survived the blast said his team had been preparing to leave for various neighborhoods around Quetta when they were hit.
“Suddenly there was a loud bang and I fell to the ground, I could not see anything, there was dust everywhere,” said Shabir Ahmed, who suffered shrapnel wounds to his stomach, hands legs and feet.
“Then I heard people screaming and sirens of ambulances,” he told.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Quetta Syed Imtiaz Shah said seven to eight kilogramme of explosives were used in the blast. He said most of the victims were policemen who laid down their lives to guard polio workers.
Bugti said, “We will not bow down before terrorists,” adding that the blast was an effort to disrupt peace in Baluchistan.
The Baluchistan government meanwhile announced Rs.1 million compensation for of deceased family and Rs.500, 000 for each injured.
Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri while strongly is condemning the blast directed police to submit a report about the incident promptly.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast in Quetta.
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned the attack and ordered inquiry.