March 15, 2014 in Nation/World

Bombs kill 19 in Pakistan; Musharraf ordered to appear in court

Abdul Sattar And Munir Ahmed Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A soldier of the Pakistani paramilitary force shouts for help following a blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Friday.
(Full-size photo)

QUETTA, Pakistan – Two bombings in Pakistan killed 19 people and wounded dozens Friday as judges ordered former President Pervez Musharraf to appear in court to face charges of high treason or face arrest.

The explosions underscored Pakistan’s fragile security even as the government tries to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban militants in the country.

In the southwestern city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, a bomb exploded near a bus, killing 10 people and wounding 37, said Dr. Ali Mardan at a local hospital. Four were in critical condition, he said.

The bomb, hidden on a bicycle, exploded when the bus drove by, police officer Abdur Razzak Cheema said. Two vehicles carrying Pakistani troops had just passed by, Cheema said.

Witness Bakht Mohammad, 27, said he was going to a market in a rickshaw when the bomb went off.

“I heard a big bang and then something hit, wounding my leg, back and both arms,” he said. “I was bleeding and the driver started reciting verses from the Quran.”

Baluchistan is home to separatists battling the state and sectarian groups who often attack minority Shiites. It is also believed to be home to many Afghan Taliban members.

In northwestern Pakistan, a suicide attacker blew himself up Friday near a police armored vehicle about 12 miles south of the city of Peshawar, killing nine people and wounding 43, police officer Safdar Khan said. One woman and a child were among the dead, he said.

Police officer Mohammad Faisal said most of the dead were civilians, though the blast wounded many police officers.

He said police recently stepped up patrols in the area due to threats from militants from the nearby Khyber tribal region. The Pakistani army has carried out several operations in Khyber in an effort to rid the area of militants.

No one claimed responsibility for either bombing.

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