April 23rd, 2021
By Asim Ahmed
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Thursday, April 22, claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide blast in the parking lot of the four-star Serena Hotel targeting security forces and other officials a day prior.
Among those killed in Wednesday’s attack were Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department officer Mir Aimal Kasi, the hotel’s shift manager Shahzaib Shahid, security guard Asadullah, policeman Shujaat Abbasi, and Naseebullah. Kasi and Yousafzai were close friends and often spent time together.
Aimal Kasi had joined the Forest and Wildlife Department some months ago but was also pursuing a PhD in Finance from the University of Balochistan. Shahzaib began working at Serena Hotel in 2014 and, juggling his job with his studies, managed to graduate from the University of Balochistan in 2015 with a Bachelors in computer and information sciences. Just three days prior to the blast, he had scored a job with the Wildlife Department.
Initial reports had suggested that the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, who was being hosted at the hotel, was the target of the attack however the provincial government as well as the Chinese embassy denied such claims, providing that the Chinese delegation was not present at the hotel at the time of the attack. Journalist and analyst Zainuddin Baloch also clarified that all attacks on Chinese interests till date have been orchestrated by Baloch separatist outfits.
Security has been tightened in Quetta after this latest terrorist incident. The Counter Terrorism Department has registered a case and have ordered for a forensic inquiry to determine the identity of the attacker.