Bomb blast in hotel parking in Pakistan kills 5
A powerful bomb blast in the parking area of a luxury hotel in the restive southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta has killed at least five persons and injured 12 others, authorities have said, dismissing reports that the Chinese Ambassador was present in the building when the explosion occurred.
The blast took place in the parking lot of the Serena Hotel in Quetta on Wednesday night. Several vehicles parked in the area caught fire after the blast. According to some initial reports, the hotel was hosting Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong.
Quetta is the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province.
Initial investigation has revealed the blast was caused when explosive material, fitted inside a car was detonated, said police.
A fire brigade immediately arrived at the parking area to douse the flames. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire.
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the blast. A spokesman for the TTP said, “Our suicide bomber used his explosive-filled car in the hotel.'' However, police said that the initial investigation revealed that the explosive device was planted in a car that was parked in the hotel's parking area.
Inspector General of Balochistan Muhammad Tahir Rai said that police were still gauging the intensity of the blast.
In response to a question, he said no ambassador or members of a foreign delegation were staying at the hotel when the blast occurred.
“I can confirm that the Chinese ambassador was not present in the hotel at the time of the blast and it is an apparent attempt to spread terror and chaos in the province,” he said.
Rai said the experts in the police force were conducting their investigation, adding that they would soon make public the findings of the probe.
Rai said that around 90kgs of explosive material was used in the blast. He confirmed a police officer who was on duty at the hotel was also killed in the blast.
He said that there were no threat alerts before the attack.
''I have just met the Chinese ambassador and he is in high spirits,'' he said, adding that the investigation will ascertain the target.
Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said the incident was being investigated from all angles. ''Those involved will not be able to escape the grip of the law,'' he tweeted.
The Chinese ambassador had earlier in the day met provincial chief minister Jam Kamal Khan in the city, according to a tweet from Shahwani.
There was no immediate comment from China’s embassy in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday condemned the incident, calling it a ''cowardly terrorist attack''.
''I am deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives in the condemnable and cowardly terrorist attack in Quetta. Our nation has made great sacrifices in defeating terrorism and we will not allow this scourge to rise again. We remain alert to all internal and external threats,'' he said.
In October last year, at least 14 people including seven frontier corp soldiers and seven private security guards were killed when militants attacked a convoy of the state-run Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd on the Makran Coastal Highway in Ormara in the province.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)