The August 2016 Quetta Attacks

Victims injured in the suicide bombing are treated at a hospital in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP
Victims injured in the suicide bombing are treated at a hospital in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

On 8 August 2016 terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta in Pakistan with a suicide bombing and shooting that resulted in the deaths of at least 93 people and injuries to more than 100 others. The fatalities were mainly advocates (lawyers) who had assembled at the hospital where the body of Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi, the president of Balochistan Bar Association, was brought after he was shot dead by an unknown gunman. Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by various Islamist groups like Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Islamic State.

Incident

Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi, the president of Balochistan Bar Association, was attacked on the morning of 8 August near Mengal Chowk on Manno Jan Road while leaving his home for his office. His dead body was brought to the Government Hospital for autopsy and many advocates assembled there. A suspected suicide bombing took place inside the hospital, which was followed by gunfire resulting in fatalities and injuries.

Police and Frontier Corps took over the area after the attack and an emergency was declared in hospitals of Quetta. Mobile phone jammers were activated in the hospital area. The Bomb Disposal Squad reported that 8 to 9 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack. Two journalists, one from Aaj News and the other from Dawn News, died in the Quetta Civil Hospital attack while working.

Friends and relatives of victims grieve at the scene of the bomb blast outside civil hospital, Quetta. PHOTO: AFP
Friends and relatives of victims grieve at the scene of the bomb blast outside civil hospital, Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

– Perpetrators

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of Pakistani militant group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, took credit for the attack on advocate Kasi and the hospital. The group declared that more attacks would take place “until the imposition of an Islamic system in Pakistan”.

Initially Islamic State also claimed responsibility for the attack.

ISPR quoted Army Chief Raheel Sharif as saying that the attack was targeting China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Relatives and residents offer funeral prayers for a news cameraman killed in Quetta’s suicide blast on August 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP
Relatives and residents offer funeral prayers for a news cameraman killed in Quetta’s suicide blast on August 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Reactions

Social networking website Facebook activated its Safety Check feature enabling people to mark themselves safe.

– Domestic

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the attack and expressed their grief over the loss. The government announced three-day mourning in which the National Flag of Pakistan will remain at half staff on government buildings.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, before initial investigations into the blast were completed and before the nature of the blast was confirmed, alleged that Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) were behind terror incidents in Quetta including this one. Home Minister Bugti claimed, administration had evidence confirming RAW was stoking violence in the province by bankrolling terrorists. This allegation was reiterated by former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.

Residents light candles to honour victims of the blast in Quetta during a candelight vigil in Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP
Residents light candles to honour victims of the blast in Quetta during a candelight vigil in Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP

– International

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Josh Earnest the United States White House Press Secretary and French President François Hollande all condemned the attack. The Pakistan and England cricket teams observed a minute of silence before the start of their fourth test match. Both teams wore black arm-bands in solidarity with the victims.

Source

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