At least 21 people were killed and 50 others injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded market in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province on Friday, 12 April, in an attack believed to be targeting the Shiite Hazara ethnic minority community.
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and ordered an inquiry.
The explosion at around 7:35 am took place in the busy wholesale market area of Hazarganj in Quetta where Hazaras and other traders come daily to buy fruits and vegetables to later sell at their shops in other parts of the city.
Blast Not Targeting a Specific Community: Pakistan Home Minister
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema said that the blast, which occurred when the vegetable and fruit sacks were being loaded onto trucks by the traders, targetted the Hazara ethnic community.
However, Home Minister Ziaullah Langove, in a press conference, said that the blast was not targeting "a specific community".
"Our guess is that no specific community was targetted. Marri Baloch and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were among those killed as well. The numbers of the Hazara community were just greater," Langove said.
He also described the blast as a suicide attack.
Pak PM Imran Khan Condemns Blast
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi issued statements condemning the attack and adding that it would not weaken "the resolve of the nation in the fight against terrorism."
Jam Kamal Khan, the chief minister of Balochistan province where Quetta is the capital, also condemned the attack, saying "the enemy of humanity" is to blame.
Members of Hazara Community Targetted: Pakistan Police
A powerful bomb on Friday, 12 April, exploded at an open-air market in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing at least 20 people and several others, reported Dawn.
At least seven of those killed in the bomb blast at Hazarganji area of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, belonged to the Hazara community. The security forces fear the death toll may rise, GEO News reported.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but outlawed Sunni extremist groups have claimed similar attacks in the past.
Sunni extremists view Shiites as apostates deserving of death.
Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which also is the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources such as gas and oil.