QUETTA: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in the provincial capital of Balochistan to visit the victims of a bomb blast that claimed the lives of fifteen people including eight army personnel.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Gen Bajwa attended the funeral prayers of the martyred personnel in the terror attack, and also visited and inquired about the well-being of the injured at CMH Quetta.
The army chief said that state institutions should play its role in the fight against terrorism, while the war against terror will continue vigorously till peace is completely restored across the nation.
He said the nation will celebrate Independence Day with full zeal and fervor to honor the sacrifices of the martyred officers, who laid down their lives for peace and sanctity of the country.
Governor and Chief Minister Balochistan, Interior Minister, Corps Commander Quetta, and other dignitaries also attended the funeral prayers. Later, he was briefed at the Southern Command Headquarters about the terrorist incident.
At least 15 people including the personnel of the Pakistan Army were killed and over 40 others wounded when a powerful blast hit an on-duty army truck at Pishin bus stop in Quetta on Saturday.
Following the blast, the army chief had strongly condemned the incident, saying that it was an attempt to mar Independence Day festivity. “Our resolve won’t succumb to any challenge,” Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying.
According to the provincial government, the blast was loud that it was heard all across the city, smashing the windowpanes of nearby buildings. A suicide attacker on his bike came close to the army truck and blew himself up, it said.
No one has claimed the responsibility for the attack yet. The powerful blast hit as a paramilitary patrol passed by on the road, Balochistan home minister Sarfraz Bugti said, adding the patrol may have been the target.
“According to the information we have received so far, there are around 15 casualties, people who were martyred, and around 40 people were wounded,” Bugti said. He said a state of emergency had been imposed in the city and all hospitals were on alert.
Quetta’s chief of bomb disposal squad, Aslam Tareen, said initial information was that a suicide attacker rammed a motorcycle into a military vehicle.
Taliban and other Islamist militants also operate in the province, which shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
The province was rocked by a series of attacks late last year that claimed over 180 lives and raised concerns about a growing militant presence, including fighters affiliated with Islamic State, which has claimed several bombings in Balochistan.
A judicial report released after an attack on the province’s lawyers left more than 70 dead criticized security provisions in the region and called for increased clampdowns on extremists.

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