[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Deaths in Pakistan sectarian attack
At least ten people die after car bomb targets Shia pilgrims returning from Iran, officials say.
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2012 01:41
The explosion was caused by a remote-controlled car bomb, police said [AFP]

At least ten people have been killed in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, after a bomb targeted a bus carrying Shia pilgrims, officials say.

The bus was attacked with a bomb and gunfire on Thursday, and was carrying around 40 passengers from Iran to Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan province, said senior local police officer Hamid Shakeel.

"It was a remote controlled blast. The bomb was planted in a car and exploded as the bus passed by it," he said, confirming that among the dead were two escorting police officers and two female pilgrims.

In addition to those killed, 25 people were wounded, said Mohammed Jafar, a doctor at the main hospital in Quetta.

Footage from local television news networks showed rescue workers using a crane to lift the blackened remains of the bus out of a ditch where it fell during the attack.

Shakeel said the engine of the car used in the attack was found about 50 feet away from the site of the explosion.

Manzoor Ahmed, a bomb disposal squad official, said the improvised explosive device weighed more than 30kg.

Sectarian violence

The attack comes a day after a bomb planted underneath a tea stall at a railway station in southwestern Pakistan killed seven people, including a child. More than a dozen others were wounded in that attack.

Balochistan has increasingly become the site of sectarian violence between the country's majority Sunni Muslims and the minority Shias, who account for about a fifth of the country's more than 170 million population.

Most Shias and Sunnis live peacefully together, but extremists on both sides have targeted each other over the past three decades.

Balochistan is also the site of a regional insurgency waged by separatists who are demanding political autonomy and a greater share of the wealth generated from the province's natural resources.

This month, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay voiced concern about "very grave" rights violations during Pakistani military operations.

The province is one of the most deprived regions of Pakistan, despite its natural resource wealth. Human rights activists say the military has been carrying out mass arrests and extra-judicial executions as part of operations to control the insurgency.

Around 5,000 people have been killed in outbreaks of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia extremist groups in Pakistan since the late 1980s.

387

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
A groundbreaking study from Johns Hopkins University shows that for big segments of the US population it is.
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
join our mailing list