A bomb has ripped through a crowded vegetable market in a mostly Shia neighborhood in a southern Pakistani city, killing at least 63 people and wounding some 180.

Police raised the death toll several times and said many of those wounded in the explosion in Quetta remain in critical condition.

The blast left many victims buried under rubble, but police said they did not know how many.

It was the deadliest incident since bombings in the same city killed 86 people earlier this year and led to protests that eventually toppled the local government.

The Shia minority have been increasingly attacked by militant groups who view them as heretics and non-Muslims.

Senior police officer Wazir Khan Nasir said the bomb, set off in a residential suburb, was detonated by remote control.

Another officer, Samiullah Khan, said police were investigating whether the bomb was planted in a rickshaw parked in the crowded vegetable market.

He said the bomb was detonated while dozens of women and children were shopping.

Local residents rushed the victims to three different area hospitals.

Members of the minority Shia sect took to the city streets in angry protest, blocking roads with burning tires and throwing stones at passing vehicles.