At least eight Awami National Party (ANP) workers and two shopkeepers were injured on Saturday in a gun attack in the Zarghoon Road area, during a shutter down strike called by the party. The victims were shutting their shops on the Double Road area at the time of the attack. The assailants, who were on foot, opened fire and fled soon after.
The injured were later taken to the Civil Hospital. They were identified as Haji Niaz Mohammad, Mohammad Naeem, Niaz Mohammad, Mohammad Noor, Fateh Mohammad, Abdul Qayum, Abdul Hanif, Zahir, Jehangir and Ghulam Murtaza.
Law enforcement officials and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area in an effort to defuse tensions resulting from the attack.
The strike was observed in protest over Friday’s bomb blast near the site of an ANP rally which killed six people and left another 18 injured.
A spokesperson for Lashkar Mujahideen Islam, Mulla Nazir Mohammad, claimed responsibility for the blast in a telephonic conversation with members of the Chaman Press Club.
Saturday’s strike – which was endorsed by two Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam factions, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz as well as traders’ associations — brought routine life to a standstill in Quetta. All business centres and commercial establishments remained closed. Traffic was thin on the roads as people preferred to stay indoors.
All main trade centres on Jinnah Road, Abdul Sattar Road, Kansi Road, Liaquat Bazaar, Prince Road, Jinnah Road, Double Road, Brewery Road, Mission Road, McChangi Road, Fatima Jinnah Road, Masjid Road and some parts of Saryab Road and other surrounding areas of the city were closed.
There was thin attendance in government offices as most of banks and commercial establishments also remained shut in response to the general strike call.
The strike was observed in Sinjavi, Pishin, Loralai, Chaman, Qila Abdullah, Zhob, Duki, Harnai, Muslim Bagh and Musa Khel areas of Balochistan.
The Pukhtoon Student Federation (PSF) has vowed not to be cowed down by the previous day’s bomb blast near the venue of an ANP rally. Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club, PSF president Zubair Agha said that the PSF was a follower of the philosophy of non-violence preached by Bacha Khan.
He pointed out that though the prime minister was in Quetta when the incident took place, he had neither ordered the arrest of those responsible for the attack nor had he asked the authorities for a detailed report.
The provincial government has failed to protect lives of people. He demanded that the culprits be arrested and brought to justice without delay.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.
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