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Day of violence leaves at least 47 dead in Pakistan

By Saima Mohsin and Jethro Mullen, CNN
July 2, 2013 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The death toll from a bombing in a Shiite suburb of Quetta rises to 30
  • A Sunni extremist group reportedly claims responsibility
  • An attack on a paramilitary convoy in the northwest of the country kills 17 people
  • The violence highlights the challenges faced by Pakistan's new government

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Two separate bomb blasts in different parts of Pakistan on Sunday killed a total of at least 47 people and wounded more than 90 others, authorities said.

The attacks are the latest in a series of violent acts that have struck Pakistan in recent weeks, underscoring the daunting challenges faced by security forces and the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The deadlier of the two explosions Sunday hit Hazara Town, a Shiite Muslim district on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta. A suicide bomber blew himself up, killing at least 30 people and wounding 50 others, police said.

Hazara Town gets its name from the Hazaras, a Shiite minority from neighboring Afghanistan many of whom have settled in and around Quetta. Hundreds of Shiites, including many Hazaras, have been killed in bloody attacks over the past year and a half by extremist groups in Pakistan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim country.

Roadside bomb kills 17 in northwest Pakistan

Human rights groups have criticized the failure of authorities to clamp down on Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni organization that has admitted carrying out much of the violence against Shiites.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing in Hazara Town, the Urdu-language Express newspaper reported. CNN wasn't able to reach the group for comment.

The other bomb attack Sunday targeted a paramilitary convoy on patrol near the northwestern city of Peshawar, the gateway to Pakistan's tribal region, a largely ungoverned area where the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups operate.

At least 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of explosives were packed into a parked vehicle and detonated remotely as the Frontier Corps convoy passed through the area of Bedhber, killing 17 people and wounding 42 others, according to police and hospital officials.

Pakistani government officials condemned both the attacks that took place Sunday.

The weekend violence came as British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Pakistan and met with Sharif, who took office last month. The bombings followed a number of other shocking attacks in the past month and national elections in May that were plagued by killings of participants.

Last weekend, gunmen opened fire at a lodge at the base of one of Pakistan's highest peaks, killing 10 foreign tourists and a Pakistani guide.

The weekend before that, militants bombed a university bus in Quetta, killing 12 young women on board. They then attacked a hospital where survivors from the blast were taken for treatment, leaving another 14 people dead.

Actress in critical condition after acid attack in Pakistan

CNN's Saima Mohsin reported from Islamabad, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong.

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