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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Pakistan : Dozens dead in bomb attack on Quetta market

The bombing happened in a crowded vegetable market
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  • At least 47 people have been killed and many more wounded in a bomb attack in a Shia-dominated part of the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta.As many as 130 people were injured in the bombing in the Hazara town area of the city, police say.Police officer Wazir Khan Nasir said: "The Shia community was the target".Tensions have been high in Quetta amid claims by the Shia community that the authorities are failing to protect them from sectarian attacks.The bomb went off in a crowded vegetable market as people, many of them women and children, were shopping for groceries in the late afternoon.Victims were rushed to several hospitals in the area.Mr Nasir said the bomb was detonated by remote control, but the Associated Press quoted another officer as saying it may have been planted in a rickshaw.Angry crowds are reported to have gathered in the area following the blast, pelting police and refusing to let them and rescue workers reach the scene of the blast.
    Quetta's minority Shia community have been angered by what they say is a lack of protection for them against sectarian attacks by Pakistani Sunni militants.Last month, at least 92 people were killed in a bomb attack and 121 were wounded when suicide bombers blew themselves up at a crowded snooker club in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta.The banned Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi said it carried out the attacks on 10 January, one of the deadliest days of bombings in Pakistan in recent years.The Shia community refused to bury the dead until they received assurances of security from the authorities. Following talks with Shia representatives from Quetta, Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf sacked Balochistan's chief minister.Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan and has been plagued by a separatist rebellion as well as sectarian violence.