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Suicide bomber targeting lawyers kills over 60 in Pakistan

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A suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of lawyers in Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 66 people and injured nearly 200, police and medics said.

It was described by the police as the deadliest attack to hit the country since March.

The blast struck outside a hospital in the city of Quetta, the capital of volatile south-western Balochistan province, police official Kashif Shabir said.

“Lawyers were gathered outside the clinic to collect the body of the chief of the provincial bar association who was shot dead earlier in the day,’’ Police official Asif Iqbal and intelligence official Shahid Ahmed said.

A police surgeon Noor Baloch, said that at least 46 dead bodies were taken in to Quetta’s Civil Hospital, the clinic that was bombed.

Another 18 bodies were at the military hospital, medic Abdul Hakeem said, while two corpses were taken to Bolan Medical College.

Nearly 200 lawyers were being treated at different hospitals in the city, Iqbal said, some with critical injuries.

“The death toll may go up,” said Baloch, who was treating some of the injured.

Lawyer associations announced seven days of mourning and a one-day boycott of courts all over Pakistan to protest against the bombing.

No group has claimed responsibility but the attack carried the hallmarks of anti-Shiite Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group, said Khan Wasseh, a spokesman from the paramilitary Frontier Corps force.

It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since a Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 70 people in March, mostly members of Christian community.

Overall violence has declined significantly since the military pushed back Islamist militants from the country’s tribal regions in offensives since mid-2014.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest, mineral rich province has been facing violence on several fronts for decades by Islamist militants, sectarian groups and other organisations.

Kelechi is a writer at The Herald. His many penchants include Poetry, Coding and Rock music. When he is not writing, Kelechi is probably binging on a TV show.

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