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At Least 11 Dead In Southwestern Pakistan Blast


Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a blast near the inspector-general of police office in Quetta on June 23.

A powerful car bombing close to the office of the provincial police chief in southwestern Pakistan has killed 11 people and wounded 20, officials say.

The June 23 blast in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, was heard across the city, shattering windows of nearby buildings, police spokesman Shahzada Farhat said.

Wasim Beg, a spokesman at a local hospital, said the death toll, initially put at five people, rose to 11, with some of the wounded in critical condition.

Four of those killed were police officers, while nine security officials were among the wounded, said Fareed Sumalan, a doctor at the Civil Hospital.

TV footage showed several badly damaged cars and a road littered with broken glass.

Anwarul Haq Kakar, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the bomb was planted in a moving car, but officers were trying to determine whether it was a suicide attack.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack but Kakar blamed neighboring India for the blast. He provided no evidence.

On June 22, Pakistan said that an Indian naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and sabotage, had petitioned for mercy.

Jadhav, who Pakistan said had crossed into Baluchistan from neighboring Iran, was arrested in March 2016 and sentenced to death in April.

In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said Jadhav was sentenced on "concocted charges" and voiced doubts about the existence of the petition for mercy.

Baluchistan has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists and separatists, who want a bigger share of the regional resources or outright independence, but also other attacks, mostly blamed on the Pakistani Taliban.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and Dawn.com

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