String of attacks kill at least 44 in Pakistan

The multiple attacks involving suicide car bombings and gun attacks took place in south-western city of Quetta, north-western Parachinar town and southern Karachi city as Pakistanis prepare for Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Photo by: (AFP)
Photo by: (AFP)

In Parachinar many people were at the market buying food for Iftar when the blasts occurred.

Updated Jun 24, 2017

Multiple bomb and gun attacks killed at least 44 people and wounded more than 140 in Pakistan on Friday, with a suicide car bomber killing at least 13 in the south-western city of Quetta, and two blasts later killing at least 27 in the north-west town of Parachinar, officials said.

A separate gun attack in southern Karachi city killed four policemen on Friday evening. 

​Seven police officers were killed in the first attack, in Quetta, which happened when police stopped a car to search it at a checkpoint.

Abdul Razzaq Cheema, Director General of Police in Balochistan's provincial capital city Quetta, said that the bomber had detonated an explosives-laden car.

At least 13 bodies were taken to hospital, along with 19 wounded people, said Wasim Baig, a spokesman for the Civil Hospital in Quetta. Nine security officials were among the wounded, said Fareed Sumalan, a doctor at the hospital.

Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack in a message sent by its spokesman, Asad Mansur.

A soldier covers a body after a blast in Quetta on Friday killing over a dozen people. (Reuters)

Pakistan says the group - displaced by major military operation in Northern Waziristan in 2014 - has taken shelter in neighbouring Afghanistan from where it plans such attacks. 

The provincial government spokesman Anwar ul Haq Kakar said that the Quetta car bomb went off near the office of the Inspector General (IG) of police.

"It's possible the IG office was the target, or the assailants were trying to enter the cantonment which is close by," he said, referring to an army housing area.

An official from Balochistan's bomb disposal unit said the car had contained up to 95 kg of explosives.

Parachinar blast

In the evening, several hundred kilometres to the northeast, two explosions in the town of Parachinar killed at least 27 people and wounded 120, a government official said.

The blasts were in a market and within three minutes of each other, senior government official Wazir Khan Wazir said. Parachinar is situated in Kurram tribal agency, which is one of seven semi-autonomous regions near Pakistan's porous border with Afghanistan.

Residents gather along a road as smoke billows after a twin blasts at a market in Parachinar. (AFP)

Many people were at the market buying food for iftar, the evening meal with which Muslims break the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan ends this weekend.

No group claimed responsibility for the Parachinar blasts.

Karachi shooting

Separately, gunmen on motorcycles on Friday shot dead four policemen sitting at a roadside restaurant at SITE area in southern port-city Karachi.

Security officials look for evidence at the site of a gun attack that killed four policemen in Karachi. (Reuters)

Asif Bughio, a senior police official, said that the four helmet-wearing attackers fled the scene after the attack.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for security to be beefed up across the country as he condemned the attacks.

TRTWorld and agencies