Bombing at open-air market in southwest Pakistan kills 16

Police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema says Friday’s bombing took place near a residential area where minority Shia Muslims live.

A powerful bomb went off at an open-air market in the southwestern city of Quetta on Friday, killing at least 16 people and wounding several others, police and hospital officials said.

The bombing took place near a residential area where minority Shia Muslims live, according to senior police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema.

“Emergency has been declared at hospitals and it seems people from the Hazara community were the target,” he said.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but outlawed Sunni extremist groups have claimed similar attacks in the past. Sunni extremists view Shiites as apostates deserving of death.

Jam Kamal Khan, the chief minister of Baluchistan province, condemned the bombing, saying “the enemy of humanity is behind this act of terrorism.” He said he ordered authorities to provide best possible treatment to those wounded.

Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan, which also is the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources such as gas and oil. (TH)