Despite the government and security forces’ assurances, before both the nation and the Supreme Court, of having the situation under control, the frequency of audacious attacks in Balochistan only seem to be increasing.
In a grisly execution-style attack on Thursday, 10 labourers were killed and four injured when assailants sprayed bullets at workers in the Dasht area of Mastung district. According to one witness, the labourers were lined up and then shot.
The labourers were working on a road project in the town of Dasht, about 25 kilometres south of Quetta, when a group of four or five armed men ambushed them and opened fire, according to Mastung Deputy Commissioner Irfan Shaheen Gharseen. The United Balochistan Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Dasht area has become a flashpoint. It also seems to have become a safe haven for terrorists, who have carried out frequent bomb blasts and attacks on police and security forces.
Eye witnesses recounted gruesome scenes of Thursday’s attack. Birat Khan, a witness to the incident, told The Express Tribune that men riding motorbikes forced the labourers to line up on the roadside, and then proceeded to open fire on them.
Ghulam Sarwar, another witness, said women and children in the surrounding areas also witnessed the bloodcurdling massacre.
According to a Levies official, the deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner of Mastung district, along with the Balochistan Levies personnel rushed to the scene of the crime and cordoned off the area. The bodies of the victims and the injured were taken to the Bolan Medical College Hospital.
Relatives of the victims staged a protest while waiting outside the hospital and later blocked traffic and burnt tyres on Brewery Road. One of the injured, Abdul Ghafar Khan, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
The victims were all residents of Quetta, identified as Noor Mohammad, Aurangzaib, Mohammad Saleem, Barat Khan, Daro Khan, Khano, Yar Mohamamd, Akbar, Nehmatullah and Abdul Ghaffar. The injured were identified as Murtaza Khan, Barak Khan, Gulab Khan and Baran Khan.
Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and Chief Minister Mohammad Aslam Raisani condemned Thursday’s attack and ordered authorities to submit a report on the incident. “The Balochistan government will not leave the victims’ family alone in pain,” said Raisani, adding that families would be compensated by the government.
Meanwhile, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) also staged a protest demonstration outside the Quetta Press Club and condemned the killing of the labourers while chanting slogans against the government. The party also called for a shutter-down strike on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2012.
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