As many as 48 people were wounded in the blast in the southwestern city of Quetta, capital of resource-rich Baluchistan province, officials said.
QUETTA, PAKISTAN: A suicide bomb ripped through an outdoor Pakistani market on Friday, killing at least 18 people, half of them ethnic Hazaras, officials said, in an attack apparently aimed at minority Shi’ite Muslims.
Some 48 people were wounded in the blast in the southwestern city of Quetta, capital of resource-rich Baluchistan province, officials said.
Baluchistan is the focus of the $57-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned between western China and Pakistan’s southern deepwater port of Gwadar.
The attack came after a lull of at least a year in violence against the mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority in the province, though there have been isolated shootings.
The blast took place at Hazar Ganji, a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Quetta.
Eight of the dead belong to the Hazara community, Quetta city police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema said, adding that one paramilitary official from a squad deployed to guard the community at the market was also killed.
He initially said that the explosive device was hidden between sacks of potatoes, but, later, he and the provincial home minister, Zia Langove, told a news conference that a suicide bomber exploded his device among the people in the market.