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Quetta (Pakistan)
 

Bomb blast at Pakistan hospital kills at least 63

Many lawyers had gathered to mourn a colleague shot dead earlier in the day. A faction of the Pakistani Taliban has said it was behind the bombing.

SOURCES Associated Press, BBC AUTHOR Evangelical Focus QUETTA 08 AUGUST 2016 15:20 h GMT+1
Hospital employees and volunteers at the attack scene/ Reuters

A suicide bomber killed at least 63 people and wounded dozens in an attack that struck a gathering of Pakistani lawyers on the grounds of a government-run hospital in the southwestern city of Quetta, police said.



 



MANY LAWYERS AMONG THE VICTIMS



About 120 others were injured in the blast, which happened at the entrance to the emergency department where the body of a prominent lawyer shot dead earlier on Monday was being brought.



Bilal Anwar Kasi, president of the Balochistan Bar Association,was shot and killed by gunmen earlier on Monday, as he was on his way to his office, and the lawyers later gathered at the Quetta Civil Hospital to express their grief. There were also journalists accompanying the body.



Mr Kasi had strongly condemned the attacks and local media said he had announced a two-day boycott of court sessions in protest at the killing of a colleague last week.



Lawyers in Lahore staged a demonstration to condemn the attack. Some journalists also protested, demanding protection for freedom of expression.



 



TALIBAN FACTION CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY



A faction of the Pakistani Taliban has said it was behind the bombing.



Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said it had also carried out the earlier attack on Mr Kasi, who was president of the Balochistan Bar Association and had been shot while on his way from his home to the main court complex in Quetta.



The president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association, Syed Ali Zafa, denounced the assault as "an attack on justice". The Pakistan Bar Council has announced a nationwide strike by lawyers on Tuesday



 



QUETTA, A TERRORIST TARGET



Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his "deep grief and anguish", adding: "No-one will be allowed to disturb the peace of the province. The people, policy and security forces in Balochistan have given sacrifices for the country."



Quetta and the rest of Baluchistan province have long been hit by insurgency. There are several ethnic Baluch separatist groups operating in the resource-rich province, but al-Qaida and other militant groups also have a presence there.



There have been a number of targeted killings in Quetta and the victims in recent weeks have included several lawyers.


 

 


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