At least four students have been killed and dozens injured in a bomb attack on a bus in Pakistan’s impoverished province of Balochistan.
According to the BBC, a bomb attached to a vehicle left in a suburb of the provincial capital, Quetta, was detonated remotely as the bus – which was on its way to the Balochistan University of Information Technology – passed by. Most of the passengers on board were members of the minority Shia Hazara community.
Pakistani police declined to tell the Associated Press who they suspected of being behind the attack, but violence against the Hazara community – widely believed to be carried out by Sunni militants – has increased over the last year. Quetta also suffers from attacks by Islamists and an insurgency being waged by ethnic Baloch separatists seeking greater autonomy for the oil- and gas-rich region.
According to the Agence France Presse, thousands of people have died in sectarian conflict between majority Sunni and minority Shi’ite Muslim groups in Balochistan since the last 1980s, while human rights groups have also accused Pakistan’s army of carrying out extra-judicial executions and mass arrests as part of its offensive against the separatist insurgency. Earlier this month UN human rights chief Navi Pillay expressed her concern over allegations of “very grave” violations of rights during the military’s crackdown.
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