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Complete shutter-down strike observed in Quetta

10 August, 2016

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QUETTA: A complete shutter-down strike was observed in the provincial capital to protest against Monday’s suicide bombing of the Civil Hospital.

Shops, markets and commercial and trade centres remained closed on Tuesday.

All main bazaars and commercial centres, including Liaquat Bazaar, Prince Road Bazaar, Abdul Sattar Bazaar, Qandhari Bazaar, Alamdar Road Bazaar, Toghi Road Bazaar and Jinnah Road Bazaar, remained closed on the call of trade unions to mourn the killing of lawyers, journalists and common people, said Naseer Khan Tareen, the president of city’s trade union.

Meanwhile, officials said the death toll had increased to 72, with more than 100 injured. Soldiers patrolled near-empty streets in the city, as most public transport remained off the roads, with markets and schools closed in mourning.

Both the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic State have asserted responsibility for the attack, though neither claim has been verified by the authorities.

The IS claim, if true, would make it the group’s deadliest attack so far in Pakistan, where it has struggled for purchase.

Traffic was thin on all main roads, while educational institutions, both public and private, were closed. The University of Balochistan, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences and others educational institutions were also closed, said Abdul Raheem Ziaratwal, the minister for education.

On the other hand, Balochistan Police Inspector General Ahsan Mehboob formed a special committee to probe the suicide attack. A spokesman for the Balochistan Police said that a high-level meeting reviewed different aspects of the suicide blast and formed different committees, including a special investigation committee, to probe the incident.

The meeting also reviewed the security situation and decided to further beef up security in the city.

Over in Chaman, two local lawyers killed in the Civil Hospital suicide blast were laid to rest in the border town graveyard. The bodies of Advocate Askar Khan Achakzai and Advocate Aimal Khan were brought from Quetta to Chaman, and their funeral prayers were offered, which were attended by a large number of people, including tribal elders and notables. Askar Khan Achakzai was the brother of Asghar Khan Achakzai, the provincial president of the Awami National Party.

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