70 killed in Quetta hospital blast, Army Chief orders nationwide combing ops

Quetta (Pakistan), Aug.8 : The death toll from Monday's suicide bomb blast at the Quetta Civil Hospital has risen to 70 and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has ordered the intelligence agencies to carry out country-wide special combing operations to target terrorists in wake of the attack.

The blast occurred as mourners gathered at the hospital following the shooting of president of Balochistan Bar Association Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi by unidentified assailants in Quetta, reports the Express Tribune.

While a heavy contingent of Frontier Corps and police arrived and cordoned off the hospital following the blast.

Kasi was targeted by two unidentified gunmen, who opened fire on his car near Quetta's Mengal Chowk. He was later shifted to the Civil Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The subsequent suicide attack appeared to target his mourners. Anwar ul Haq Kakar, a spokesperson for the Balochistan Government, said it seems to be a pre-planned attack.

The Army Chief took the decision during an emergency security meeting at Pakistan Army's Balochistan Corps Headquarters.

He had earlier visited the hospital and inquired after the injured victims of Quetta blast. "Having been defeated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the terrorists are shifting their focus to Balochistan," the military's media wing ISPR quoted the Army Chief as saying.

General Raheel also termed the attack in Balochistan's provincial capital an attempt to undermine security in the province, especially targeting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cancelled all prior commitments and departed for Quetta, where he is set to visit the injured and also hold a meeting regarding the security situation.

Source: ANI