A blast ripped through scores of mourners in a hospital in Quetta in Pakistan on Monday killing 93 people, mainly lawyers. According to officials, it is the bloodiest terror attack in Pakistan this year.
Balochistan Health Minister Rehmat Baloch blamed a suicide bomber for the carnage which took place when a large number of lawyers had gathered at the Civil Hospital with the body of a lawyer, which was shot dead earlier.
The hospital superintendent confirmed the toll, according to a local TV channel report. Two legs of a body found at the site were likely to be that of the suicide bomber, it said.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri blamed the Indian intelligence agency RAW behind the incident, according to agency reports. His comments about the RAW came even before the police could say who was responsible for the attack, the reports said.
The explosion occurred when nearly 100 lawyers and some journalists reached the Civil Hospital with the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi, president of the Balochistan Bar Association who was killed earlier. Police officer Zahoor Ahmed Afridi said most of the dead were lawyers. Several lawyers, including Baz Mohammad Kakar, the former president of the Balochistan Bar Association, were injured, Dawn reported.
Gunfire was heard shortly after the explosion. Shahzad Khan, a cameraman with Aaj TV, was also killed in the explosion while the cameraman for Dawn News was severely injured, Dawn said.
A stampede broke out after the bombing, causing chaos at the hospital, witnesses said. Smoke filled the corridors of the emergency ward. Video footage showed lawyers rushing with stretchers to help the wounded.
Police surrounded the hospital and an emergency was declared in all Quetta hospitals. Senior military officers also rushed to the hospital.
“This was a security lapse and I am having this personally investigated,” Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who left Islamabad for Quetta, condemned the killings and expressed his “deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives”.