4 killed, dozen injured in Pakistan as explosion hits luxury hotel in Quetta
At least four people, including a police officer, were killed and a dozen injured when an explosion rocked the Serena Hotel on Wednesday night in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province, reports say. The Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan( TTP), commonly known as Pakistan Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The explosive device was fitted into a vehicle that was parked at the hotel’s parking area, DIG Azhar Akram was quoted as saying by Dawn. Multiple media reports suggested high-ranking Chinese officials were on target. However, police ruled out the possibility.
The TTP while claiming the attack said their suicide bomber carried out the operation.
The Chinese ambassador was not present at the hotel at the time of the explosion, clarified Baluchistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove. “I have just met the Chinese ambassador and he is in high spirits,” he added. Further investigation will be carried out to ascertain the target of the attack, he said.
Significantly, the TTP has stepped their activities across the northwestern region of Pakistan, and the same has been acknowledged by Pakistan officials. After years of setbacks, especially after the Pakistan military carried out military operations in its stronghold, the group saw some high-profile mergers of splinter groups in the last couple of years.
The Baluchistan home minister said there was a wave of terrorism in the region. “Our own people are involved in these acts of terrorism,” he said. There was no prior input regarding the attack, he added.
Both, the TTP and Baluch insurgents, in the past, mounted several high-profile attacks in Quetta.
Earlier, media reports said that secret talks between the TTP and the Pakistan government broke down in December last year, following which the former stepped its terror activities.
Importantly, if the target was indeed the Chinese, it marked a dramatic escalation at least in terms of choosing a potential target by the TTP. And, this shift would definitely have a high cost, both politically and economically, for the Pakistan establishment.