Saturday, 31 December 2011

Pakistani Suicide Bomber Brings In New Year With A Blast

QUETTA - At least nine tribesmen were killed and some 35 others were injured when a Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the house of a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) central leader here on Friday.

Police said a car carrying explosives struck the main gate of a house owned by Mir Shafiq-ur-Rahman Mengal on Arbab Karam Khan Road. Shafiq-ur-Rehman is the son of Mir Naseer Mengal, former Balochistan chief minister and a former federal minister from the PML-Q. The car was blown to pieces, killing and injuring a number of armed tribesmen guarding the house. Mengal, who was inside the house, remained safe. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Nazir Ahmad Kurd told Pakistan Today that at least nine people were killed and more than 35 were wounded. He said it was yet to be determined how many among the dead and wounded were passersby, but police had begun investigation and would be in a position to make a definite comment soon. There is still some doubt whether the attack was a suicide blast or the attackers parked the vehicle in front of the gate of the house and detonated it via remote from a distance. Although the BLA, a banned outfit, claimed it was a suicide attack, the police was unable to say anything conclusive until investigations came to a close. A spokesman for the BLA who identified himself as Meerak Baloch called a TV channel and a foreign radio service and claimed that it was a suicide attack on the house of Baloch “traitor” Shafiq Mengal, who was the prime target of the attack. He also claimed that the suicide attack was conducted by the Majid Shaheed brigade of the BLA and such attacks would be continued against traitors, Chinese engineers involved in various projects and the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which runs through Balochistan. The explosion was so massive that it was heard far and wide in the city and windows and glass doors of dozens of buildings in locality were shattered. After the blast, the gas pipeline supplying gas to the house was broken and caught fire. Some 14 vehicles were damaged or completely destroyed as a result of the blast.
After the blast, armed tribesmen took over the street and did not allow anyone to pass through. The guards reportedly opened fire and gunshots rang out at the scene for up to half an hour, but it was unclear who they were shooting at. Reporters rushed to the site to cover the incident, but the guards did not permit them to enter the street. The cameraman of a private TV channel was badly beaten up and a photographer was wounded by firing in the chaotic aftermath of the blast, and their equipment was smashed. Both were admitted to Civil Hospital for their injuries. The injured tribesmen were first taken to Civil Hospital but were later moved to Combined Military Hospital for better treatment.

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