Security officials inspect the blast site in Pakistan's southwest city of Quetta on Jan. 10, 2013. At least 81 people were killed and over 120 others injured when two more blasts hit Quetta on Thursday night, said police. (Xinhua/Mohammad)
by Zhang Qi, Misbah Sabah
ISLAMABAD, Jan. 11 (Xinhua)-- Thursday marked a bloody day for Pakistan as four blasts rocked the country, leaving at least 116 people killed and 235 others injured.
Out of the four blasts, three hit Quetta, capital city of Pakistan's southwest Balochistan Province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, while another hit a preaching center in the country's northwest district of Swat.
On Thursday afternoon, at about 3:50 p.m. local time, a bomb hit a checkpost of Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force in Pakistan, at the Bacha Khan area of the downtown Quetta, leaving at least 12 including a FC member killed and 50 others injured.
The injured include seven FC personnel and many kids and women.
The bomb was fixed under a chassis of a vehicle parked nearby the checkpost and an estimated 25 kg of explosives were used in the bomb, said bomb disposal squad officers.
The blast was so huge that it left a two-feet-deep and eight- feet-wide crater on the ground, said eyewitnesses.
At least 13 vehicles including two FC pickups were also destroyed in the blast. The explosion also caused serious damage to the nearby shops, offices and homes as the checkpost is set up at a densely populated area in the city.
About two hours later, there came a report saying a blast hit a preaching center in the Swat District in northwest Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The blast took place at about 5:40 p.m. local time inside a preaching center in Mingora, a small town in Swat District, which is some 115 kilometers northwest of the country's capital Islambad.
Hundreds of people were gathering inside the preaching center for Friday prayers when the blast went off.
Initial reports said that it was a gas cylinder blast, but local officials later confirmed it was a blast of terrorist nature.
The bomb was planted in the basement of the preaching center, they said.
At least 22 people were killed and 65 others injured in the blast, said local media, adding that many of the wounded people died later at hospital.
While the people in the country have not recovered from the shock of the two blasts that hit Quetta and Swat, there came in another report saying a more deadly twin blast hit Quetta again.
The two blasts happened just within a few minutes, said sources of Xinhua in the city.
The first one hit a snooker club located on the Alamdar Road of the city at about 8:50 p.m. local time.
It was a suicide blast, said bomb disposal squad officers, adding that an estimated six to seven kg of explosives were used by the suicide bomber.
As police, rescuers and media persons rushed to the blast site, another bomb fixed in a vehicle parked nearby the site went off, causing a large number of casualties among the people gathering on the first blast site.
Mir Zubair, Capital City Police Officer in Quetta, confirmed that 81 were killed and 121 wounded in the twin bomb attack.
Shortly after his announcement, local hospital announced the death of another person wounded in the blast.
The 82 people killed in the twin blasts include nine policemen, 25 rescue workers and two media persons, said local media.
Bomb disposal squad officers said that an estimated 100 kg of explosives were used in the second blast.
All the killed and injured have been shifted to a civil hospital and a military hospital in the city. Hospital sources said many of the injured still remained in critical condition and the death toll may further rise.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a group of extremist Sunni Muslims, which is banned by the government, has claimed responsibility for the twin blasts.
Both Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have strongly condemned the attack and the prime minister has directed the concerned authorities to provide the best possible medical treatment to the blast victims.
The government of Balochistan Province has announced a three- day mourning for the victims and a compensation of two million rupees (about 20,253 US dollars) each for the killed policemen and one million rupees (about 10,126 US dollars) each for the others who lost their lives in the twin blasts.
A local Shia Muslim organization has also announced a three- day mourning for the victims as it believed that the bomb attacks were targeting Shias.