Volunteers moving a victim from the site of a bomb explosion in Quetta yesterday.
PESHAWSAR: Attacks in the volatile Pakistani cities of Peshawar and Quetta killed a total of 19 people yesterday, dashing hopes of a lasting peace deal with insurgents fighting to topple the government.
In Peshawar, a sprawling city on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a police vehicle killing at least nine bystanders, including a woman and a child, police said.
In Quetta, in the unruly province of Baluchistan, at least 10 people were killed when a motorcycle laden with explosives blew up near a college in the city centre, police said.
The attacks took place as the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tries to engage Pakistani Taliban militants in talks to hammer out a permanent ceasefire agreement and end years of violence.
But a series of attacks and counter-attacks by insurgents and government forces since the start of the year has dampened expectations that peace talks could ever yield any result.
In Peshawar, police chief Faisal Kamran said the target of the attack was an armoured personnel carrier. “The police were deployed in the armoured personnel carrier to provide security during yesterday prayers outside mosques when it came under attack,” he said. “The policemen luckily remained safe but innocent people were killed and injured.”
Jamil Shah, a spokesman for the city’s biggest hospital, said at least 30 were injured.
In Quetta, 35 people were also wounded when the motorcycle exploded near the college, police said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attacks.