A powerful bomb blast in the parking area of a luxury hotel in the restive southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta late on Wednesday (April 21) killed at least four people and injured 12, authorities said. They dismissed reports that a Chinese delegation was present in the building when the explosion occurred.
According to the bomb disposal squad, between 80 and 90kg of explosive material was used.
The blast could be heard several kilometres away. The windowpanes of nearby Balochistan assembly, high court and other buildings were smashed from the impact. The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility.
Addressing a press conference, Balochistan home minister Mir Ziaullah Langove said there was a wave of terrorism in the region. “Our own people are involved in these acts of terrorism,” he said, adding there were no threat alerts before the attack.
Addressing reports about the Chinese ambassador being the apparent target of the attack, Langove said the envoy was not present at the hotel when the explosion occurred.
According to some initial reports, the hotel was hosting the Chinese ambassador. Quetta is the capital of Pakistans Balochistan province. Initial investigation has revealed the blast was caused when explosive material fitted inside a car was detonated, police said.
Balochistan is home to several armed groups, including separatists. Militants are seeking independence from the rest of Pakistan, and oppose major Chinese infrastructure projects in the area. The separatists were also blamed for an attack two years ago on a luxury hotel at Gwadar where a major port project is being funded by China.