Market bomb blast kills 16, wounds 30
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – At least 16 people were killed when a powerful bomb ripped through a vegetable market in Quetta in southwestern Pakistan early Friday, officials said. At least nine of the dead were Hazaras, a Shiite Muslim minority group that has repeatedly been the target of Sunni extremists.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which also wounded at least 30 people, some of them critically. But Lashkare-Jhangvi, a banned militant Sunni group, has often carried out attacks against Hazaras in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. For years, the Hazaras have lived in a state of perpetual fear in Quetta, and promises made by successive governments have failed to ensure their safety.
While terrorist attacks have declined significantly in the past year across the country, the attack Friday was a grim reminder that the Hazaras continue to remain vulnerable to militant violence and that the security provided to them remains inadequate.
A senior police official said that the bomb went off in a sack of potatoes, and that the victims included shopkeepers and customers at the vegetable market.