Explosion Kills Eight, Injures Dozens in Pakistan City of Quetta

Quetta is no stranger to violence. Last month, at least two policemen were killed and one injured after armed gunmen opened fire at them in the city. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

QUETTA, Pakistan, Feb 6  – At least eight people were killed and more than 40 wounded in a bomb blast on Saturday in Pakistan’s western city of Quetta, hospital officials said, the latest attack in a region that will be home to the planned route of the $46 billion China-Pakistan economic corridor.

The blast occurred as a convoy of the Frontier Corps, part of Pakistan’s paramilitary forces, was passing through the centre of the city near the district courts, said provincial home secretary Akbar Durrani.

It was not immediately clear how many of the casualties were military or civilian.

Rich in resources, Baluchistan is at the heart of the multi-billion-dollar energy and infrastructure projects China and Pakistan are planning along a corridor stretching from the Arabian Sea to China’s Xinjiang region.

The province, the poorest and least developed in Pakistan, has seen nearly a decade of separatist violence against the government and non-Baluch ethnic groups.

Baluch activists and human rights groups claim the military has carried out a campaign of kidnapping, torture and extrajudicial killing of suspected separatists, and a security crackdown has severely limited freedom of movement in the province.

In January, five Pakistani soldiers and two coast guard members were killed in separate attacks in the province, and a suicide bomber killed at least 15 people outside a polio eradication centre in Quetta.

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