Bomb targeting Islamist leader’s car kills 6 in Pakistan

Local residents examine damage of vehicles at the site of a bomb blast in Chaman, southwestern Pakistan, Friday, May 21, 2021. Photo Courtesy: AP

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP): Six people were killed and several others were wounded Friday when a powerful roadside bomb exploded near a vehicle carrying a local leader of an Islamist political party in Pakistan, police and a government spokesman said.

It was unclear who was behind the attack in Chaman, a town in the southwestern Baluchistan province.

Local police chief Abdul Bashir said the attack took place when Abdul Qadir, a local leader of a faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, was on his way to attend a rally in support of the Palestinian people.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack and police said they were still investigating.

Liaquat Shahwani, a spokesman for the provincial government in Baluchistan, tweeted a condemnation of the blast. It came as Pakistanis across the country were gathering for anti-Israel rallies.

Pakistan is among a few countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

The bombing came hours after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed a cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas- militant group that rules Gaza. Pakistan wants a peaceful resolution of the Palestine issue.

Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province and security forces in Baluchistan have been battling an insurgency for more than a decade. Baluch separatists demand complete autonomy or a massive share to locals from the province’s gas and mineral resources.

Pakistani Taliban and other militants also have a presence there.