Thu, 19 Sep 2019

Blast in Pakistan Kills Two, Wounds Dozen

Voice of America
24 May 2019, 22:06 GMT+10

ISLAMABAD - A blast in south western Pakistan killed at least two people and wounded more than a dozen others. Police said the explosion Friday in Quetta's Pashtoonabad area damaged a mosque where locals were offering Friday prayers, as well as nearby buildings.

Quetta is the capital of the restive Balochistan province, which has long been home to a low intensity separatist movement as well as a target of various other militant groups.

It is also home to Gwadar, the port that is the epicenter of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of the major arms of China's larger 'One Belt One Road' initiative.

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Earlier this month, the Balochistan Liberation Army separatist group claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel near the port in Gwadar that left at least eight people dead, including four hotel employees, one Pakistan navy commando, and at least three attackers.

Several days later, a Pakistani Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a police vehicle that killed four policemen.

Last month, at least 14 passengers of a bus were shot on their way to Gwadar from Karachi.

The minority Shi'ite Hazara community of Quetta has long complained of targeted attacks against them. Hundreds of Hazaras have died in such attacks spanning over a decade.

Sabotage of China plans?

China is investing upwards of $60 billion in Pakistan for a network of roads, railway lines and other infrastructure and power projects. Pakistani officials claim attacks in Balochistan are part of an effort to sabotage the Chinese investment plans.

'We shall not allow these agendas to succeed. (The) Pakistani nation and its security forces shall defeat them all,' Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said after the hotel attack.

Pakistan has deployed a special security contingent to guard CPEC-related projects and Chinese nationals working on them.

Balochistan is considered the poorest province in Pakistan, with almost all of its human development indices lagging behind Pakistan's other three provinces.

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