- Suicide bomber targets hospital in southwestern city Quetta
- At least 100 other people also injured in the explosion
A suicide bomber killed at least 67 people on Monday at a government-run hospital in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, the worst violence in the country since an Easter attack in Lahore.
The bomber targeted lawyers who gathered to mourn the death of Quetta Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi, according to police spokesman Shahzada Farhad. Kasi had been shot dead earlier in the morning, Farhad said by phone from Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran. About 100 others were injured in the explosion.
The blast was the deadliest since a Taliban suicide bomber targeted a crowded park in Lahore where many Christians were celebrating Easter Sunday, killing more than 70 people. Quetta, near the border with Afghanistan, has been used as a relatively safe haven for Afghan Taliban leaders in the past. A U.S. drone strike in May killed then head of the group, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, in Balochistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and said nobody would be allowed to disturb the peace in Balochistan, which had been restored with the efforts of security forces, according to state-owned Radio Pakistan. The restive province has for years been struggling with separatist insurgencies and violence.
Balochistan’s developing port of Gwadar has also been the focus of Chinese investment into the country, part of a package announced last year worth about $45 billion. Pakistan’s military chief, Raheel Sharif, chaired a security meeting after the attack with the chief minister and chief secretary of Balochistan, army spokesman Asim Bajwa said on Twitter.
Militants are shifting their focus on the province in “an attempt to undermine improved security in Balochistan, specially targeting China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Bajwa said, referring to the name given to the investment projects. “All resources to be employed to control situation.”