QUETTA: Three paramilitary soldiers and a policeman were killed on Saturday in a drive-by shooting in the capital of Balochistan, which has been in the throes of sectarian, militant and separatist violence for more than a decade now.
A sectarian terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Aalmi, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack that took place in the Yat Road neighbourhood of Quetta.
Gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire at the Frontier Corps personnel manning a checkpoint in the Fatima Jinnah area, according to DIG Abdul Razzaq Cheema.
Three soldiers and a traffic police constable standing nearby were killed and a passer-by was wounded, while the assailants escaped unidentified and unchallenged.
The fatalities have been identified as FC soldiers Muhammad Younas, Muhammad Ali, and Ahmed Nawaz, and traffic police constable Shah Wali.
A heavy contingent of FC and police threw a security cordon around the crime scene as rescuers drove the casualties to the Civil Hospital.
Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri condemned the quadruple murders and sought an inquiry report. He also directed security officials to take all possible steps to arrest the terrorists involved in the attack.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief over the martyrdom of the FC personnel. “Law enforcement personnel laid down their lives in the line of noble duty and a great national cause,” he said in a statement issued by his office.
Reiterating his government’s resolve to take the war on terror to its logical conclusion, he said such cowardly acts of terrorism could not deter the resolve of the nation.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Aalmi sectarian terrorist group claimed credit for what has become the fourth major attack targeting Frontier Corps Balochistan since June this year. The deadly attack came a day after the group was outlawed by the government.
Elsewhere in the volatile province, eight suspected militants were arrested in separate raids. The FC arrested two suspected members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in an intelligence-driven operation in the industrial town of Hub in Lasbela district.
Separately, security forces arrested six suspected militants during a search operation in the Balnagor area of Kech district. “The militants belong to the Baloch Republican Army,” an FC spokesperson said. They have been shifted to an unidentified location for interrogation.
Meanwhile, security forces seized a huge cache of weapons and explosives during a raid in the Killi Zareenabad area of Dasht. Acting on a tip-off, an FC contingent raided a house and recovered the haul of arms and explosives. A manhunt has been mounted for the terrorists who had stockpiled the arms.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2016.