A bomber remotely detonated an explosive-laden car outside the home of a Pakistani former minister, killing at least eight people and wounding 30, police officials in the city of Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, said on Friday.

The car was parked outside the house of Naseer Mengal, a former minister of petroleum and natural resources, according to police officials. Several militants exchanged fire with private security guards after the blast.

Paramilitary forces cordoned off the area and were searching for the assailants.

The explosion shattered windows and knocked down electricity lines. Live video from local TV channels showed clouds of smoke rising from burning cars at the site of the bombing.

Emergency services and police officials said they expected the casualty figure to rise.

Baluchistan is Pakistan's biggest but poorest province, where Baluch separatists militants are fighting a protracted insurgency to demand more autonomy and control over the natural resources of their impoverished region.

Much of the violence in the past has been blamed on separatist militants.

Pro-Taliban militants are also active in the province which shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran.

Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in its war on terror, has seen a wave of violence in past years, most of it in the northwest where troops are battling militants.

(Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Matthew Jones)