A powerful bomb exploded in the parking area of a luxury hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding at least nine others, police said. It was unclear who was behind the bombing at the Serena Hotel. Police said rescuers transported victims to nearby hospitals. Footage on Pakistan news channels showed burning cars.
Southwestern Baluchistan province is the scene of a long-running insurgency by secessionist groups like the Baluchistan Liberation Front and the Baluchistan Liberation Army. They have for decades staged attacks to press their demands for independence. The Pakistani Taliban also have a presence there.
Liaquat Shahwani, a provincial government spokesman. called the bombing an act of terrorism without elaborating. Enemies of Pakistan are behind today's attack, he said.
Security forces were rushing to the hotel and no one was being allowed to go near the site of the blast. According to senior police official Azhar Akram, some of the wounded were listed in critical condition. He provided no further details, saying police were still investigating.
Wasim Beg, a spokesperson at the provincial health department, said four people died and 12 were wounded in the bombing. Arbab Kamran Kasi, a doctor at Quetta's main hospital, said about a dozen wounded were being brought their and they declared an emergency at the hospital to handle victims. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.
Pakistan is also witnessing massive protests at present staged by the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious organisation, which was part of the political race during the last general elections, and was declared as proscribed by the Imran Khan-led government after the former had detained security officials and unleashed mayhem in the country.
However, the government, succumbing to the pressure from the Islamist group, has tabled a resolution in the Parliament, seeking its vote on the expulsion of the French Ambassador.