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Deadly Attacks Mount In Southwest Pakistani City Of Quetta

  • RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

A bomb blast has hit a rally by Pakistan's leading religious political party in the southwestern city of Quetta, causing an unspecified number of casualties.

Several ambulances were seen taking the dead and injured away following the suspected suicide attack late on October 23.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) party, the largest religious group in Pakistan's parliament, escaped unhurt.

He said he believed he was the target of the attack.

Earlier on October 23, gunmen killed eight members of the Shi’ite Hazara community when they opened fire on a bus on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province.

Senior local police official Imran Qureshi confirmed that all the victims were Hazara.

They were sitting in the bus after buying vegetables in Hazar Ganji market.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangwi has previously claimed similar attacks against Shi'a.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says violence has pushed some 200,000 ethnic Hazaras, who are mainly Shi'a, to flee Balochistan over the past 10 years.

Meanwhile, Qureshi said an explosion targeting a car used by the paramilitary Frontier Corps killed two people and injured 12, also in Quetta on October 23.

Balochistan has been the scene of violence perpetrated by Islamic radicals and Baluch separatist rebels.

With reporting by AFP and