76 die in Pakistan bombingsSeptember 3rd, 2010 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS
By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, Sep 3 (IANS) At least 76 people were killed and more than 160 injured in three powerful explosions in Pakistani cities Friday, two days after triple blasts ripped through a Shia religious procession in Lahore killing 35 people.
This is the largest number of killings in a day after 117 people died in a blast in a busy Peshawar market in October 2009.
At least 73 people were killed and more than 150 injured Friday in a suicide blast that ripped through a Shia procession near Meezan chowk in Quetta city, the capital of Balochistan province.
Earlier in the day, two people were killed and six injured in a blast at a shrine of the minority Ahmadi community in the Canal Road area in Mardan city of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
In Peshawar city, a huge explosion ripped through a police van leaving a policeman dead and three others injured in Achini Bala area, according to Dawn. The police van was badly damaged in the remote-controlled explosion.
Bomb disposal squad officials in Quetta confirmed the blast was caused by a suicide attacker who blew himself up. As many as 59 bodies were received by combined military hospital (CMH), 10 were brought to civil hospital, while Bolan medical complex received four bodies.
Driver of Aaj TV crew Muhammad Sarwar also died in the blast, while several cameramen covering the procession were injured. City police authorities said the participants of the procession were asked to disperse, as per prior agreement, before Meezan chowk but they did not heed to it.
Meanwhile, the banned radical group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack, Xinhua reports.
The Punjab-based Sunni group also disclosed the identity of the bomber, named Rashid Moaawia, 22 years old. The group was founded in 1996.
Angry participants of the procession and activists of Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) resorted to aerial firing after the incident and torched a government building. A van of a local TV channel was fired at that shattered the windscreen. However, the driver and other staff remained unhurt.
Balochistan Shia Conference has announced 40 days of mourning to condemn the blast. Chief Minister Sardar Aslam Raisani has announced to provide free treatment to all injured people. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered high level probe into the unfortunate incident.
Emergency has been declared in Quetta hospitals to cater to the situation. Because of Shia community processions scheduled across the country after Friday prayers, security was on high alert because of terror threats.
On Wednesday, three serial blasts within half an hour in Lahore killed at least 35 people and wounded over 200.
The first blast occurred near Karbala Gamay Shah in Lahore’s Lower Mall area while the second and third blasts were near Bhatti Chowk, just a few paces away.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the Lahore blasts.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: achini bala, bomb disposal squad, cameramen, canal road, chowk, city police, explosion ripped through, military hospital, muhammad sarwar, pakistan bombings, pakistani cities, police authorities, police van, radical group, rashid, religious procession, saleem, suicide attacker, tv crew, xinhua