The attack befell on the night of Saturday, August 12, 2017, when a suicide bomber driving a motorcycle collided with a military truck in the southwestern city of Quetta in Pakistan. According to the Home Minister for Balochistan, Sarfraz Bugti, “there are around 15 casualties … and around 40 people were wounded” in this incident. Of the 15 that were killed, it is believed that eight were soldiers while the remainder were civilians. However, the death toll is expected to rise as approximately eight of the wounded are in a critical condition.
Meanwhile, according to Kabeer Khan, an explosives expert who examined the site shortly after the incident occurred, about 25 to 30 kilograms of “incendiary explosives” is understood to have been used, which caused nearby vehicles to ignite upon impact. As emergency services rushed the wounded to the Combined Military Hospital in Quetta, Bugti declared a state of emergency and called for hospitals in the region to be on high alert.
At this time, even though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, it is suspected that the suicide bomber may have been an affiliate of the Baloch separatist militants that are demanding a greater share of the province’s minerals and gas resources.
This recent attack comes two days before Pakistan commemorates 70 years of independence. In view of that, Pakistan’s Army Chief General, Qamar Javed Bajwa, has condemned the attack, labelling it as an attempt to “mar the independence day festivities” ahead. Even so, Bajwa maintains that “our resolve won’t succumb to any challenge.”
As such, instead of spending billions of dollars on its military every year, Pakistan needs to address its internal concerns through, for example, intelligence-led non-combative operations to identify and prevent such attacks before they ensue. As well, rather than declaring a “state of emergency” every time a terrorist attack takes place, Pakistan needs to closely monitor the provinces where such incidents are occurring. In addition, since there has also been an upsurge in the use of motor vehicles laden with explosives by suicide bombers and affiliates of terrorist groups, Pakistan should perhaps consider erecting infrastructure that protects its civilians from any voluntary collisions involving the same.
With that said, it is apparent that terror-related incidents are commonplace in Pakistan, particularly in provinces that endure political and religious tensions. Certainly, Pakistan needs to pursue a more precautionary and permanent solution for extremism and the internal conflict between political and religious camps.
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