Suicide bomber kills 5 in Pakistan

QUETTA - At least five people were killed and dozens injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Quetta's Hazara Town area on Saturday night, police said.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta, Abdul Razaq Cheema confirmed the powerful explosion was a suicide attack.

He said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a crowded area of Hazara Town where people were shopping for Eid.

Hazara Town is a locality populated mainly by the ethnic Hazara Shia minority which has been targeted by extremist militant groups.

"Several people are also injured as result of blast," another police officer told Dawn.

The injured were taken to the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital and Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for medical treatment.

Spokesman for the Balochistan government, Jan Muhammad Buledi, told Dawn that emergency was imposed in all government-run hospitals soon after the blast.

The powerful blast was heard far and wide, causing panic among the people. Rescue workers rushed towards the spot of explosion to shift the injured to hospitals.

The blast was followed by aerial firing in the area and shopkeepers pulled down their shutters in panic.

"There was a crowd of people when the bomb went off," said the police official.

A huge contingent of police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel reached the spot to cordon off the area.

The explosion was the second bomb attack in the city in the past 24 hours.

Earlier in the day, seven people were injured when an IED exploded on Quetta's Spini road area. Police said militants had intended to target the vehicle of a deputy superintendent of police in the bomb attack.

Quetta is the capital of resource-rich Balochistan province which is home to a long-running separatist conflict that was revived in 2004, with nationalists seeking to stop what they see as the exploitation of the region's natural resources and alleged rights abuses.

In the past few years, the provincial capital has also been a flashpoint for sectarian violence mainly targeting the ethnic Hazara community.

No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.