Woman killed, several injured in Pakistan train bombing
Islamabad, Feb 16 (EFE).- A Baloch militant group claimed Thursday that it bombed a train in Pakistan, killing a woman and injuring several others.
However, authorities were unsure of the nature of the explosion inside the train traveling from Balochistan’s Quetta to Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) – the two restive provinces of Pakistan.
Pakistan Railways spokesperson Babar Raza said the explosion hit the Jaffar Express train near eastern Punjab province’s Chichawatni city.
“The blast occurred in bogie number four of economy class near the washroom at 7.10 in the morning,” Raza said. “One woman who belonged to Faisalabad was killed while seven other passengers were wounded.”
The spokesperson said expert teams of the Counter-Terrorism Department and Punjab Forensic Science Agency were at the site to collect evidence and ascertain the nature of the blast.
“It is still unclear if the blast was of a cylinder one or some explosives were planted,” he said.
But the Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA) said it targeted the train with a bomb.
“We claim responsibility,” the BNA tweeted.
The separatist group claimed responsibility for an IED blast at Lahore’s bustling Anarkali market that claimed three lives and wounded 28 others in January last year.
The group was formed in January 2022 when two Baloch separatist groups — Balochistan Republican Army and United Baloch Army — merged.
In January, at least eight people were injured as a remote-controlled bomb blast derailed the same Jaffar Express in the Bolan district of volatile Balochistan province. The banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for that bombing.
The latest incident comes as Pakistan witnesses a surge in violence.
Balochistan province has battled decades of insurgency against what rebels allege is the unfair exploitation of resources in the mineral-rich region.
The region borders Afghanistan to the north and Iran to the west. It has a long coastline on the Arabian Sea. It is home to Pakistan’s largest natural gas field.
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) usually claims attacks on security forces. It is among the most prominent separatist groups in the region.
Outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the Pakistani Taliban, has also increased its violent campaign across the country, mainly in the KPK province bordering Afghanistan, where their ideological brothers Afghan Taliban are in power.
The TTP is an umbrella group of several armed organizations formed in 2007 to establish an Islamic state in Pakistan.
Since its inception, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of attacks across the country and killed thousands of people, including an assassination attempt in 2012 on Nobel peace-winning activist Malala Yousafzai.
Pakistani security forces have begun small-scale operations mainly in the troubled Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. EFE