Feb 16 2013
Sixty-three people have been killed after a bomb ripped through a busy vegetable market in the Pakistani city of Quetta, a police chief has said.
Local police chief Zubair Mahmood revealed the death toll a few hours after the bomb detonated on Saturday evening.
Some 180 people were also wounded in the attack, which occurred in a mostly Shia Muslim area. Police said that many of those wounded remain in a critical condition. The blast left some victims buried under rubble, although police have not revealed how many.
It is the deadliest incident since bombings in the same city killed 86 people earlier this year and led to a protest that eventually toppled the local government.
Shias, a minority in the Sunni Muslim-dominated country, have come under increasing attack by militant groups who view them as heretics and non-Muslims.
Senior police officer Wazir Khan Nasir said the bomb, set off in a residential suburb, was detonated by remote control.
Another officer, Samiullah Khan, said police were investigating whether the bomb was planted in a rickshaw parked in the crowded vegetable market. He said the bomb was detonated while dozens of women and children were shopping for the evening meal.
Local residents rushed the victims to three different area hospitals. Television footage of the scene showed the rubble of the destroyed buildings with fruits and vegetables from what just minutes earlier was a lively market littered across the ground next to destroyed street carts.
Members of the minority Shia sect took to the city streets in protest, blocking roads with burning tyres and throwing stones at passing vehicles.
Many also started firing into the air in an attempt to keep people away from the area in case there was a second explosion. Sometimes insurgents stagger the explosions as a way to target people who rush to the scene to help, thus increasing the death toll.