At least four people died and 12 were injured when a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) blast struck the Jaffar Express train in the Dasht area of Balochistan, south-west Pakistan.

The train was carrying more than 650 passengers from Quetta to Rawalpindi when a bomb exploded on the railway track in Balochistan’s Mastung district.

According to the police, the IED planted at the rail track was detonated with a remote control, beneath the first bogey attached to the engine of the Jaffar Express.

"A portion of the track was blown up in the blast that rocked the entire area."

Quetta division chief controller of railways Mohammad Kashif told the Dawn: "A portion of the track was blown up in the blast that rocked the entire area.

"The train remained on the track despite the massive blast. The engine and other bogeys are safe."

Security forces, police and rescue teams reached to the site and shifted the bodies and injured to Civil Hospital Quetta and Bolan Medical Complex for treatment.

Balochistan home minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying: "The IED was around 8kg and caused damage to the train as a result of which four people have been killed while the injured have been rushed to the civil hospital in Quetta."

Train services between Quetta and the rest of the country were suspended, and no trains were allowed to leave Quetta while they were stopped at the Sibi railway station. The services were restored later.

According to the Dawn, the banned United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed responsibility for the blast.