4 Policemen Killed, 11 Injured In Blast In Pakistan



4 Policemen Killed, 11 Injured In Blast In Pakistan

Pakistani volunteers shift an injured victim into the hospital after the bomb blast in Quetta | AFP

ISLAMABAD — A powerful remote-controlled bomb blast near a mosque in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has killed four policemen and injured 11 others, the second major attack to rock the restive region in the last three days.

The explosion occurred on Monday night when people were assembling for prayers near the mosque in the provincial capital Quetta’s Satellite Town area.

The attack took place shortly after a police van arrived at the site to provide security to the people offering prayers at the mosque.

“The police vehicle carrying personnel for mosque security was targeted in the blast in which our four personnel of Rapid Response Group (RRG) lost their lives, while the condition of another was stated to be serious,” said Quetta Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Razzaq Cheema.

Another 11 people were injured in the attack, Provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Langov said.

This was the second major terrorist attack in Balochistan within the last three days.

Three heavily-armed militants on Saturday stormed a luxury hotel in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, killing eight persons, including a Pakistan Navy soldier and three militants.

An improvised explosive device planted in a motorcycle went off close to the police van. Sources said unidentified people parked the explosive-laden motorbike near the mosque in Satellite Town area and detonated it by remote control when the police van arrived there, the Dawn reported.

“Three police officials among the injured died soon after being brought here at the hospital,” officials at a healthcare facility said.

Many vehicles parked in the area were damaged and window panes of nearby buildings were shattered due to the powerful blast, though the mosque remained safe in the attack.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to trace those involved in the blast.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the motorcycle bomb blast targeting the police vehicle, the report said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has strongly condemned the targeted attack.

Khan has sought a report on the blast and said the country was fully committed to completely eliminating terrorism.

The prime minister said those who target innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan did not have a religion.

The nation’s spirit is strong and Pakistan is determined to do away with the menace of terrorism, he said.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has also condemned the attack.

“Efforts are being made to sabotage peace under a wicked conspiracy. Those creating instability would be fought back with full force,” he said.

Vowing to improve the security arrangements, the chief minister also directed the concerned authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the wounded persons.

Citing terror by Pakistan, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh declines invite to Kartarpur ceremony



Citing terror by Pakistan, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh declines invite to Kartarpur ceremony

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh cited terrorist attacks in his state and the killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistani armed forces.

INDIA Updated: Nov 25, 2018 23:34 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Kartarpur corridor,Amarinder Singh,Imran Khan
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh(AFP File Photo)

Punjab’s chief minister Amarinder Singh has declined an invitation by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend the laying of the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor on November 28, citing terrorist attacks in his state and the killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistani armed forces.

In a letter to the Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Amarinder welcomed it as a “historic occasion”, which he also described as a “cherished desire of Sikhs around the world”, but said he would not be present for the ceremony across the border.

“[Pakistan’s spy agencies] ISI has started its nefarious activities within Punjab and since my government was sworn in, in March 2017, the state neutralized 19 ISI armed and controlled modules, apprehended 81 terrorists and recovered 79 weapons, in addition to numerous grenades made in Pakistan’s ordnance factories,” said Amarinder, referring to last week’s grenade attack on a Nirankari religious gathering in Amritsar.

Two people have been arrested in connection with the attack that killed three people. Police suspect the role of a Khalistani group backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“I hope the Pakistan Prime Minister will understand that in these circumstances it will not be possible for me to be present in Pakistan, despite the fact that paying my respects at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib has always been a cherished dream which will hopefully be fulfilled once these hostilities are stopped,” added Amarinder, who received the invitation from Qureshi on the behalf of PM Imran Khan.

But a minister in his state cabinet, Navjot Singh Sidhu, accepted the invitation “with unalloyed joy”.

“As our nations take this first step, the Kartarpur Spirit can make pilgrims of us all, venturing out on a journey that breaks the barriers of history and opens the borders of hearts and the mind,” he wrote in his letter to Qureshi.

Sidhu, on his last visit to Pakistan on August 18 to attend Khan’s swearing in ceremony, sparked a controversy after he hugged Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched an attack and the Punjab CM expressed unhappiness over his gesture, Sidhu justified his visit to Pakistan saying he went there as a messenger of peace and hugged the Pakistani army chief in an emotional response to the information provided by him that the neighbour country was working on the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib.

On Thursday, both India and Pakistan agreed to build corridor on their respective sides, to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019. Welcoming the move, Amarinder had said the move will facilitate pilgrims desirous of visiting Kartarpur gurudwara. But the next day the government lodged a strong protest with Pakistan after Indian diplomats were harassed and denied access to Sikh pilgrims visiting gurudwaras in Pakistan.

Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu will lay foundation stone in Dera Baba Nanak on Indian side on November 26. Amarinder will attend the function, in which his political rival Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will also be a present.

Union minister of state Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the SAD will attend the ceremony on the Pakistan side along with Union urban development minister Hardeep Puri.

First Published: Nov 25, 2018 23:34 IST