A faction of the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a deadly blast which rocked a hospital in the western city of Quetta killing at least 70 people. The suicide bombing, which took place on 8 August in the capital of the impoverished Balochistan Province, injured another 120 people.

The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group targeted mourners at the hospital as the body of prominent murdered lawyer Bilal Kasi arrived. Kasi had been killed earlier in the day and the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group (The Party of Freedom Fighters), which split from the Pakistani Taliban two years ago, also claimed responsibility for his murder.

Among the dead were lawyers and journalists who had gathered to mourn the death of the head of the Balochistan province bar association who was shot dead on his way to his office in the city. Kasi was among one of the most outspoken lawyers in the province and had campaigned for improvements in the legal community.

Up to 100 lawyers are believed to have gathered at the Quetta Civil Hospital to express their grief when the blast struck with witnesses saying that there were "bodies everywhere" afterwards. The insurgents have claimed a number of murders and bombings in recent months.

On 27 March this year, the terrorists killed more than 70 people, including several children, at a park during Easter celebrations. The blast in Lahore was targeting the Christian community near the children's rides in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park.

Quetta has seen several lawyers murdered recently and Kasi has been at the forefront of denouncing the attacks and even announced a two-day boycott of court sessions in protest of a recent killing. Following the explosion Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the city for talks with security officials.

Sharif said: "No one will be allowed to disturb the peace of the province. The people, police and security forces in Balochistan have given sacrifices for the country." The Pakistan Bar Council has announced a nationwide strike by lawyers to take place on Tuesday 9 August. And in the capital Lahore lawyers staged a demonstration to condemn the attack.

Quetta hospital
Friends and relatives of victims grieve at the scene of a bomb blast outside a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed