ISLAMABAD, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Death toll of a blast that hit a fruit market in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Monday morning has risen to 21, officials said.
Chaudhry Nisar, federal interior minister, visited the blast site and said that investigations into the incident are being carried out and security of the capital would be further beefed up.
Talking to media, Dr Ayesha Isani, spokesperson of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), said that they have received 18 bodies and 50 injured people at the hospital out of which at least 25 were in critical condition.
Saira Afzal Tarar, state health minister, said that at least two bodies and 20 injured people have also been shifted to Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi, sister city of Islamabad.
Later one of the injured people in the PIMS succumbed to injuring bringing the death toll to 21.
Khalid Khattak, inspector general of police in Islamabad, said that the blast happened between 8:00 to 8:15 a.m. (local time) when over 1,500 of people were buying and selling fruits in the market spreading over an area of one kilometer in the Pir Wadhai fruit market, located at southern sector I-11 suburbs of Islamabad.
He said police was patrolling in the market, but they did not have any intelligence tip off of the blast and it is nearly impossible to check all trucks which drop thousands of fruit boxes in the market every day, but they will make plans to work on it.
The bomb disposal unit said that an estimated five kilograms of lethal explosives fixed in guava crates were exploded by a remote controlled device.
The police chief said that they are investigating about seven trucks that brought guava crates to the market from central Pakistan.
A fruit vendor in the market said that the trucks offload fruit inside the market every day at around 6:00 a.m. and buyers start coming at about seven, so the market was very crowded when the blast happened.
He said that the blast victims include vendors, buyers and laborers.
A crater with a radius of three feet appeared at the ground, following the blast.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet.
Both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the blast and expressed condolence to the bereaved families. The prime minister also directed hospital administration to provide the best possible medical treatment to the injured people.
This is the second serious blast that hit Pakistan's capital over the last one month. Earlier on March 3, a twin suicide blast in sector F-8 of the city left 11 people dead and 25 others injured.
Shahid Ullah Shaid, spokesperson of the Pakistan Taliban, denied involvement in the blast, saying that his group has never favored killing of innocent people at public places.
He said that it is the time for the government to find out the secret elements that are involved in such attacks and carried out such blasts in the past under the name of his group.