A powerful bomb has exploded in the car park of a luxury hotel in the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta, killing at least four people and wounding another 12.
Police said rescuers took victims from the five-star Serena Hotel to nearby hospitals and footage on Pakistan news channels showed burning cars.
South-western Baluchistan province is the scene of a long-running insurgency by secessionist groups like the Baluchistan Liberation Front and the Baluchistan Liberation Army.
They have for decades staged attacks to press their demands for independence. The Pakistani Taliban also have a presence there.
Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed blamed neighbouring India for the hotel bombing, although he provided no evidence to back up the allegation.
He told a Pakistani Geo news channel that Pakistan had only one enemy and it was India, which he alleged was behind the bombing.
Mr Ahmed said they had received intelligence about possible attacks in the capital Islamabad and elsewhere and the information had been shared with relevant authorities to beef up security
Liaquat Shahwani, a provincial government spokesman, called the attack an act of terrorism. He said: “Terrorists want to disrupt peace in Baluchistan. Those who don’t want to see progress and prosperity in the Baluchistan province are responsible for this act of terrorism.”
Jam Kamal Khan, chief minister in Baluchistan, took to Twitter to condemn the bombing.
Baluchistan’s home minister Ziaullah Langove said Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong was staying at the hotel at the time of the bombing but it was unclear what the motive was behind the attack.
He said no guests were hurt but that a police officer was among four people who died in the attack.
The hotel is frequented by foreigners as it is the city’s only luxury hotel and is considered safe.
Arbab Kamran Kasi, a doctor at Quetta’s main hospital, said about a dozen wounded were being brought there and they declared an emergency at the hospital to handle victims.
The bombing in Quetta came hours after Pakistan and neighbouring Iran opened a new border crossing point in Baluchistan to improve trade and economic relations. Baluchistan shares a border with Iran and Afghanistan.