Nation outraged after 9 killed execution-style in Noshki

President, PM reiterate resolve to wipe out terror

Syed Ali Shah April 13, 2024
The bus which was attacked. PHOTO: Express


The sickening massacre of nine innocent would-be economic migrants from Punjab in the Noshki district of Balochistan has triggered nationwide outrage with top government officials, including the president and the prime minister, pledging to bring the perpetrators to justice and “root out the spectre of terrorism” once and for all.

At least nine passengers were plucked from a bus, abducted, and killed execution-style in the horrific attack that appears to be motivated by ethnic hatred, police and administration officials said on Saturday.

While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the sickening executions, Baloch separatist groups have carried out such targeted assaults, particularly against people from Punjab – the province they blame for the alleged exploitation of Balochistan’s natural resources.

Noshki’s Deputy Commissioner Habibullah Musakhail confirmed to The Express Tribune that 10 to 12 attackers opened fire on a bus en route to Taftan border after the driver did not stop at a roadblock on the Quetta-Taftan National Highway N-40.

The gunmen then boarded the bus at a place called Sultan Charhai, and seized nine passengers after checking their national identity cards to make sure they were from Punjab, added Abdullah Mengal, an official of Noshki police station. “All of them were travelling to Taftan en route to Iran,” he said, adding that the victims were shot at close range.

The bullet-riddled bodies of the abducted passengers were later discovered by law enforcers from beneath a bridge after one and a half hours, added Musakhail. The victims, all of them men, hailed from Wazirabad, Mandi Bahauddin, and Gujranwala district of Punjab.

Levies and the Frontier Corps launched a coordinated operation to comb the area for attackers. Economic migrants from Punjab often use lesser-known routes to sneak into Iran for their onward illegal journey to Europe. Few are lucky to get there, while most are either caught in Iran or Turkey.

Following the grisly discovery, the victims’ bodies were shifted to the Civil Hospital in Quetta from where they were driven to the Police Line for funeral prayers. The chief minister, Mir Sarfraz Bugti, directed that the bodies be driven to the hometowns of the victims via ambulances.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the brutal killings by terrorists and said that the entire nation rejects the nefarious designs of terrorists.

Also read: LEAs land a big blow to terrorists in Balochistan

“Security forces are determined to eradicate terrorists with the help of the entire nation,” he said in a statement issued from the Presidency. The president offered condolences to the bereaved families.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also denounced the grisly executions and sought a report from the provincial administration. He offered his condolences saying: “We stand with the bereaved families in this hour of grief.”

The prime minister stated that the perpetrators of this heinous act of terrorism and their facilitators would be punished. “The spectre of terrorism would be rooted out, he reiterated,” he said in a statement issued by his office.

Chief Minister Bugti also expressed grief and sorrow over the gruesome tragedy. “Terrorists would be dealt with iron hands,” he said and vowed that the nefarious designs of terrorists would be thwarted.
Balochistan has been in the throes of a deadly Baloch separatist insurgency since 2004 and the fluid security situation has been further exasperated by ethnic, extremist, and sectarian terrorism in the dirt-poor but resource-rich province. Hostile agencies, especially India’s RAW, have also been actively involved in stoking unrest in the province for strategic objectives.

Baloch separatists and religious extremists have repeatedly carried out such executions in the past. In October last year, gunmen shot dead six Punjabi labourers in Turbat. They were hired for a construction project in the area and lived in a house provided by their contractor.

At least 20 construction workers were shot dead and three others injured in a similar attack on a labourers’ camp in Turbat in 2015. The victims, all hailing from Punjab and Sindh, were asleep when gunmen stormed their camp and carried out the sickening massacre.

(With additional input from News Desk)


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