At least 15 people have been killed in a major explosion in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.
Balochistan’s home minister, Sarfraz Bugti, said 32 other people were injured in the explosion, which targeted commuters at a bus stop.
“We can now confirm that 15 people have died in the explosion today. At least 32 others are wounded,” Bugti told a local TV station.
Other officials in the area, including the spokesman for the Balochistan government, also confirmed the toll although medical officials had earlier put the number of casualties at eight killed and 17 injured.
Bugti said rescue had begun as the area targeted in the blast caught fire soon after the explosion.
“We are trying to transfer injured people to hospitals as soon as possible. Workers are also busy extinguishing the fire at the site,” he said, adding that doctors in Quetta could not go to holidays as they had to see to the wounded of the blast.
Bugti said an investigation was launched to determine the nature of the blast and whether it was a terrorist attack.
No terror group claimed responsibility as it has been for previous such incidents in Balochistan, a province rich in oil and gas resources that borders Iran and Afghanistan.
Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group which mainly operates in the Middle East but has also established a branch in Afghanistan, has claimed several attacks in the Pakistani territory in the recent past. Attacks have also been reported by groups related to the Taliban.