A bomb has gone off, killing at least 80 people and wounding scores of others in a town in southern Pakistan. Police described the explosion, which occurred in a mainly Shiite Muslim area, as a sectarian attack.
The death toll from the incident in Hazara, a Shiite-dominated town on the outskirts of Baluchistan's provincial capital, Quetta, had originally been put at 10, but grew rapidly as the afternoon unfolded. The remote-controlled improvised explosive device was apparently fitted to a motorcycle.
"The death toll may rise," said Wazir Khan Nasir, a senior police officer in Quetta. "It was a sectarian attack, the Shiite community was the target," he added.
Pakistan's minority Shiite community has pleaded with the government to provide it with increased protection after a series of attacks claimed by militant groups. Those groups are led by the Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack.
Last month, the group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Quetta that killed nearly 100 people and was one of Pakistan's worst sectarian attacks. After the attack, Quetta was placed under federal rule.
mkg/pfd (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)