A bomb hidden between bags of potatoes at an outdoor Pakistani market killed at least 16 people on Friday, half of them ethnic Hazaras, officials said, in an attack apparently aimed at minority Shi’ite Muslims.
At least 30 people were wounded in the blast in the southwestern city of Quetta, the capital of resource-rich Balochistan province, officials said.
Balochistan is the focus of the US$57 billion (S$77.30 billion) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned to run from western China to Pakistan’s southern deepwater port of Gwadar.
The attack came after a lull of at least a year in violence against the mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority in Balochistan, though there have been isolated shootings.
The blast took place at Hazar Ganji, a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Quetta.
“I have confirmation of 16 martyrs – eight belong to the Hazara community, seven others who worked here, and one is from the Frontier Constabulary,” city police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema told reporters.
The explosive device was hidden between sacks of potatoes, he said.