(By Telegraph) Bomb attacks have killed 53 people in Pakistan, as David Cameron called for tough action against terrorism during a visit to the capital.
In the two deadliest attacks a suicide bomber killed 28 people at a checkpoint near a Shia Muslim mosque in the southwestern city of Quetta, and a car bombing killed 17 in the northwest.
The combined toll marked the deadliest day for more than four months in the nuclear-armed state, which is battling homegrown extremism and is on the frontline of the US-led war against Al-Qaeda.
Pakistani rescuers and security officials gather at the suicide attack site in Quetta
In Quetta, officials said a suicide bomber tried to access a Shiite mosque in the congested Hazara town, a mainly Shiite community on the edge of the city, but was intercepted at a checkpoint.
“Twenty-eight people have been killed and more than 51 others are injured,” said senior police official Mir Zubair.
“Nine women, a minor girl and four boys were also killed in the attack,” Mr Zubair told reporters.
Baluchistan provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said the bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint set up by a local neighbourhood volunteers around 50 yards away from the mosque.
“The evening prayers had just ended in the mosque and most of the victims are Shia Muslims,” he told AFP.
Quetta is one of the most volatile cities in Pakistan, gripped by Taliban violence, a separatist Baluch insurgency and a growing number of attacks on the Shiite minority.
Hazara Town in particular has been a flashpoint for attacks on Shiites and the minority Hazara ethnic group.
Earlier, while Mr Cameron was holding talks with new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, a car bomb targeted a security force convoy on the outskirts of Peshawar, not far from the semi-autonomous tribal belt where Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked groups have bases.
Jamil Shah, spokesman for the government-run Lady Reading Hospital in the city, said 17 people were killed and 46 injured.
At least four children and one woman were among the dead, and two children and a woman were among those hurt, he added.
Police said most of the victims were civilians because the bomb targeting the Frontier Corps (FC) convoy exploded in a bustling market area.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Pakistani Taliban frequently targets security forces as part of a seven-year domestic insurgency that has killed thousands of Pakistanis.