Bomb kills at least 10 Shiite Muslims in SW Pakistan

A remote-controlled bomb targeting Shiite Muslims killed at least 10 people in Pakistan's insurgency-hit southwest on Saturday, police said.

The incident took place in Hazara town, an area dominated by Shiites on the outskirts of Quetta, capital of oil and gas rich Baluchistan province.

"Ten people have been killed, the death toll may rise. It was a remote-controlled bomb. All the dead were from the Shiite community," Wazir Khan Nasir, senior police officer in Quetta, told AFP.

"It was a sectarian attack, the Shiite community was the target," he added.

Provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani confirmed the incident and told AFP that the dead included women and children.

"Dozens of people were also injured. We have announced an emergency in hospitals," Durrani said.

Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has increasingly become a flashpoint for sectarian violence between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and Shiites, who account for around a fifth of the country's 180 million people.

At least 92 people were killed and 121 wounded on January 10, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a crowded snooker club in an area of the of Quetta city dominated by the Shiite community.

It was Pakistan's worst sectarian bombing, claimed by Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf later the same month sacked the provincial government in Baluchistan after meeting Shiite Muslim protesters demanding protection.

The province is also rife with Islamist militants and a regional insurgency which began in 2004.

The insurgents demand political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's natural resources.