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Blast kills four at crowded market in Pakistan’s Balochistan

No group claimed responsibility for attack in Barkhan, about 500km east of the provincial capital Quetta.

(By Staff Reporter) A blast at a crowded market in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has killed at least four people and wounded 14. No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack in Barkhan, about 500km (310 miles) east of the provincial capital Quetta, which comes amid a surge in violence in the South Asian nation. Sajjad Afzal, a local police chief, said the bomb was apparently attached to a motorcycle and was detonated by remote control. Rescuers took the wounded to hospital, and several shops at the market were badly damaged, Afzal added. Pakistan’s news website quoted Barkhan Deputy Commissioner Abdullah Khoso as saying the injured had been brought to Rakhni Hospital.
“Teams have begun collecting evidence from the site,” he said, adding that police had cordoned off the area. Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Balochistan’s chief minister, condemned the bombing, describing it as a terrorist attack. “Terrorists are trying to create uncertainty through such attacks to achieve their nefarious goals, but we will not allow these anti-state elements to succeed,” he said without naming any group.
In a separate incident overnight, two police officers were killed when a magnetic bomb attached to their vehicle went off in the province’s Khuzdar district. Two other police officers were reported to be in critical condition.
Pakistan Taliban
Violence has surged in Pakistan after months of peace talks between the government and the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) collapsed last year. Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province, bordering both Afghanistan and Iran, and is regularly targeted by armed fighters, sectarian groups and nationalist separatists.
Much of the violence is seen as a reaction by rebels to Beijing’s investment plans in the region to link China’s Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea in Balochistan through a network of roads and rail. Authorities claim to have quelled the armed uprising, but violence has persisted. The restive province has seen attacks by both the TTP and the ISIL (ISIS) group.
The Pakistan Taliban has been blamed for more than 100 attacks since walking out of a ceasefire with the Pakistani government last November.