Death toll in Pak serial blasts rises to 126


The death toll in a string of devastating terrorist attacks in two restive Pakistani provinces rose to 126 Friday as residents of Quetta city observed a strike to protest the killings.

A total of 92 people were killed in explosions that targeted a snooker club in a Shia-dominated neighbourhood of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, Thursday night. Dozens of people were killed instantly and at least eight injured persons died later.

Twenty-two more people died in an explosion at a religious seminary in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province Thursday evening.

Nearly 300 people were injured in all the attacks and officials said special arrangements were being made to airlift critically injured persons from Quetta to Karachi so that they could be provided better treatment.

Life in Quetta, meanwhile, came to a standstill as a traders' association called for a strike to protest the bombings. Shops and markets across the city remained closed and traffic on the roads was thin.

Interacting with the media after visiting victims at a hospital, Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi said the provincial government had failed to deliver.

The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) demanded that the Pakistan People's Party-led government in Balochistan should be dismissed and a caretaker set-up formed after consultations with all political parties. The party further demanded that security forces should carry out targeted operations against militants attacking Hazara Shias.

The notorious sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack on the snooker club at Alamdar Road, a Shia-majority area of Quetta.

In calls made to local journalists, LeJ spokesmen Bakar Saddiq said the first blast was carried out by a suicide bomber and the second was a bomb planted in a car that was triggered by remote control.

The United Baluch Army, a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on security forces at Bacha Khan Chowk in Quetta.

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