Suicide bomber kills six in southwest Pakistan

A suicide bomber blew up his car at a check point near a Shiite dominated area in southwest Pakistan late on Tuesday, killing six people and wounding more than 30, officials said.

The attacker had attempted to drive his vehicle into Hazara Town in Baluchistan province's capital Quetta, where a recent surge in sectarian unrest has killed scores of Shiites, city police chief Zubair Mahmood said.

"He detonated the vehicle when the soldiers at a paramilitary check post near the Shiite neighbourhood stopped it," the police officer told AFP.

The blast left six people dead including a soldier, senior administration official Abdul Mansoor told AFP.

Senior provincial government official Akbar Durrani confirmed the attack and the casualties.

"We have collected details from different hospitals and the death toll is six," he said, adding that 37 others, including two soldiers, were wounded.

"The bomber was heading to the Shiite Hazara community's area. It was a huge blast heard several kilometres away," he said, adding that several shops were damaged in the bombing.

Baluchistan is a flashpoint for sectarian violence between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites, who account for 20 percent of the country's 180 million population.

A giant bomb planted in a water tanker being towed by a tractor killed 90 Shiite Hazaras in February, while another suicide bombing at a snooker club in January killed 92 others.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant group officially banned by the government in 2002, claimed responsibility for both attacks.

The insurgency-hit province bordering Iran and Afghanistan is rife with Islamist militancy and a regional insurgency waged by separatists demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's natural resources.