Pakistan

QUETTA – A strong explosion near rocked the Balochistan capital on Tuesday, killing at least seven people including five police personnel and injuring dozens others.

The blast took place near a police truck parked close to GPO Chowk on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road, located in the city’s high-security Red Zone, around 300 metres from the provincial assembly building. The road also leads to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

Quetta deputy commissioner Farrukh Ateeq confirmed to media that a truck of Frontier Constabulary was targeted.

Police officials did not officially disclose the exact nature of the blast. However, initial investigation suggested a suicide attacker on a motorcycle was attempting to target the Balochistan Assembly building but detonated his explosives near the high-security Red Zone area.

The injured, which include security personnel and civilians, have been shifted to the hospital’s trauma centre after being administered first aid.

Police personnel took positions around the provincial assembly building, while additional contingents were also called in following the blast.

Security officials said a bomb disposal team was also present at the location conducting necessary search and sweep exercise and examining the nature of blast.

A large number of security personnel had been present near the site of the blast as a session of the Balochistan Assembly attended by almost all its members had just concluded. The area also houses several important government buildings, and is usually well secured.

The area has been cordoned off and media has been stopped from moving near the blast site. Media personnel have all gathered at the provincial assembly.