18 Feb 2013

Governor bemoans security lapses after bombing

7:01 am on 18 February 2013

The governor of Baluchistan province in Pakistan has accused intelligence and law enforcement agencies of failing to protect the Shia Hazara minority after a bomb killed at least 81 people on Saturday.

Nawab Zulfikar Magsi said government agents were either "too scared or too clueless".

Saturday's attack was carried out by a Sunni group.

Mr Magsi was made provincial chief executive in January after another attack on the Hazaras killed 92 people and the government of chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani was sacked.

He said he had given security forces a "free hand" to take action against extremist groups, but that this had clearly failed.

Mr Magsi announced compensation of 100,000 rupees ($US1000) for the families of each fatal victim.

Much of Quetta was at a standstill on Sunday after the Hazara Democratic Party called a strike in memory of the dead.

A special mourning ceremony will also be held on Sunday.

Police said 81 people were now confirmed dead and 178 people wounded. Twenty people are still critically wounded and the death toll could rise.

The blast was a crowded market in a Hazara area at around 6pm on Saturday, near grocery stores, vegetable shops, language schools and a computer centre.