At least 63 people died and some 200 were wounded Saturday in a bomb attack at a busy outdoor market in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, according to a report by the online daily Down citing the city’s chief of police.
Quetta police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood, who provided the figures, also told the daily that many women and children were among the victims.
The blast in the capital of the strife-torn province of Baluchistan took place at mid-afternoon and was followed by an exchange of gunfire.
The residential area where the bomb was detonated is majority Shiite, which indicates a possible sectarian attack.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf denounced the attack in a statement, saying that “terrorists will not break the will of the Pakistani people through such despicable actions.”
A report early this year by a Pakistani-based think tank said sectarian strife, especially violence targeting the Shiite minority in Baluchistan, rose substantially in 2012.
Quetta suffered one of the bloodiest days in the city’s history on Jan. 10, when three attacks killed more than 100 people, 90 of whom died in a double bombing of a snooker club in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood.