20 killed, 48 wounded in an explosion in Quetta city of Pakistan

Quetta,Oakistan bombing,civilians killed

Members of the bomb disposal unit survey the site after a blast at a vegetable market in Quetta Pakistan

A powerful bomb has gone off at an open-air market in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta, killing at least 16 people and wounding several others.

A city police official, AbdulRazzaqCheema, said he has confirmed 16 deaths.

"The blast was targeting members of the Hazara community", DAWN quoted Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema as saying.

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

The Islamic State Saturday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed 21 people and wounded more than 50 others in Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.

Meanwhile, the Hazara community members are continuing a sit-on the main Western Bypass road in Quetta to protest against what they term as the persistent failure of law enforcement agencies to provide them security.

The community has been targeted many times in recent years by Sunni militant groups.

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The Hazarganji area has been targeted by such attacks in the past.

Ethnic Baloch separatists are also battling what they call unfair exploitation of the province's gas and other resources.

"This seems to have been sponsored from across the border,"Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove told Reuters, referring to neighbouring Afghanistan". "It is aimed to disturb peace, which to a great extent, has been achieved in Baluchistan".

Police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that explosives were packed in a vehicle parked at a busy vegetable market. On Friday, the same practice was followed but the blast took place inside.

The protesters demand that the government implements an effective security plan and ensure protection of the Hazara community.

Violence in Pakistan has dropped significantly since the country's deadliest-ever militant attack - an assault on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014 that killed more than 150 people, a lot of them children.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi issued statements condemning the attack and adding that it would not weaken "the resolve of the nation in the fight against terrorism".

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