QUETTA: On August 8 at around 8:40 PM, President of the Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) Bilal Anwar Kasi was gunned down on Mano Jan Road as he made his way to work. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital Quetta. On the eve of August 13, ultra-violent global militant outfit Daesh (Islamic State) released a picture of an alleged bomber of Civil Hospital Quetta suicide blast. The name of the suspected bomber mentioned on the photograph read ‘Muaavia Khurasani’.
After the incident was reported on electronic media, members of the legal fraternity started gathering in the hospital at around 9:20 AM. By 9:40AM, a large number of lawyers were present inside the premises of the hospital. Six minutes later, the suicide bomber detonated his explosives, killing at least 72 with over one hundred injured.
In the aftermath, three different groups claimed responsibility of this tragic attack; Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Hakimullah Mehsud group, and Daesh. Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) of Balochistan obtained more than six different CCTV footages at the time they started probing the incident. In one of the footages, a suspected man was roaming around the hospital before the blast.
According to an official privy to the investigation, the suicide bomber likely entered the hospital at 9:08 AM and waited for the crowd to gather. On August 14, SP Investigation Quetta Police, Zahoor Afridi said, “We have two other suspects, therefore, cannot confirm about any one person. Muaavia Khurasani was the real suicide bomber”.
The law enforcement agencies found two limbs which were dispatched to Lahore for a DNA test.
Earlier, a high-level intelligence source confirmed, “there are similarities found between an alleged photograph of suicide bomber circulating on social media and a man who was spotted in the video.” However, LEAs are yet to ascertain whether Daesh (Islamic State) released photograph or it is merely fabricated.
“Conclusion will be drawn after the forensic report of the digital record is received” an intelligence source added.
After the attack on Civil Hospital Quetta, Daesh directly claimed responsibility. Earlier Daesh’s alleged media wing, Amaq News Agency issued a statement on the Quetta massacre. Daesh published the claim in three different languages including English, Arabic, and Urdu.
Initially due to a history of terror attacks in the city, LEAs believed that the attack was carried out by TTP-JA (TTPJA) with the assistance of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) Balochistan. The modus operandi of the attack compelled investigators to focus their attention towards TTP-JA and LeJ. Investigators are confident that LeJ Balochistan had played an important role in the execution of the deadly attack.
On April 16, 2010, Arshad Zaidi son of Balochistan Shia Conference was targeted at Mannan Chowk. He was shifted to civil hospital Quetta. A large number of Hazara community members started reaching to the hospital. The suicide bomber was present at the hospital. At least 11 people lost their lives including a cameraman of Samaa TV, Arif Malik and four police officers. The LeJ claimed the responsibility of the attack.
Three years ago, again August 8, Station House Officer (SHO) of City Police Station Mohibullah Davi was killed on Airport Road as he returned after Eid shopping with his children.
His funeral prayers were held later that day inside the Police Lines. A large crowd was present to attend the funeral of the slain police officer. At that time, a suicide bomber was intercepted as he tried to sneak in to the premises. He detonated his explosive jacket. At least 30 policemen including a DIG and a SP lost their lives in the attack. The then defunct TTP’s spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed the attack.
Later, when the case was traced and some important arrests were made, it was discovered that the TTP hatched the plot and LeJ’s local ruthless chief Usman Kurd alias Saifullah Kurd played a key role in the execution of the plan.
This year on January 13, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest near Polio Centre Quetta. At least 15 people were killed including 13 policemen. The defunct TTP Fazlullah group claimed the attack.