QUETTA: On the eve of Pakistan’s Independence Day, which Baloch insurgents celebrate as a ‘black day’, Balochistan was rocked by multiple attacks, spreading immense panic across the province.
There were at least three rocket attacks and a deadly assault on a police check post in Quetta, as well as explosions in Gwadar, Mastung, Khuzdar and Hub.
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed the responsibility for the attack on the police check post in Quetta, in which three police personnel were killed.
Calling from an unspecified location, a man, Jehind Baloch, who introduced himself as a spokesman for the BLA, claimed responsibility for the assault, saying that it was a reaction to a statement by the Quetta police chief, as well as the continuous recovery of bullet-riddled bodies of allegedly those who had been kept in illegal detention by government functionaries. The spokesman also claimed responsibility for a grenade attack in Hub. He warned that the organisation would carry out more attacks.
Meanwhile, of the three rocket attacks in Quetta, one injured a constable of the Balochistan Constabulary and a boy, another damaged buildings while a third rocket did not explode.
The first rocket landed in Masoom Shah Street close to the residence of Provincial Home Secretary Akbar Hussein Durrani, which is next to the chief minister’s secretariat. A constable identified as Lal Mohamad and a six-year-old passerby Mohammad Umer suffered splinter wounds and were taken to Provincial Sandeman Hospital Quetta for treatment.
The second rocket hit a house on Prince Road. The house of Haji Mujeeb was partially damaged, while the window-panes of nearby buildings and hotels were also shattered due to the impact of the blast.
The third rocket landed in Imambargah Jaffria on McCanghey Road but fortunately it did not explode on impact. The Bomb Disposal Squad rushed to the site and managed to defuse it in time.
Separately, two explosions took place in Gwadar, partially damaging the offices of the deputy commissioner and Radio Pakistan in each instance.
According to reports reaching here, unidentified men hurled a cracker at the deputy commissioner’s office on Airport Road, which exploded outside injuring two passersby. The injured were taken to a government hospital for treatment. One of the injured was identified as Allah Dad and the identity of the other could not be ascertained. Another blast occurred outside Radio Pakistan damaging its outer wall. No casualty was reported in the blast. The frequent blasts caused panic among the people of Gwadar and security was raised immediately.
In Khuzdar, unidentified assailants placed explosive material near Government Model High School. Another device was placed outside the deputy commissioner’s office in Awaran. However no casualty was reported in either blast.
In Mastung, the residence of doctor was attacked with a hand grenade, which shattered the glass of the structure as well as surrounding installations. However no casualty was reported. Doctor Noorul Haq is deputed in Civil Hospital Kalat.
The assault on the police check post in Quetta took place near the Chaki Shawani area on Saryab Road on Friday. According to an official source, three policemen were manning the post when it was attacked.
The assailants also took away the official arms of the dead policemen. The bodies were taken to the Bolan Medical Complex where they were identified as Abdul Saleem, Ghulam Sarwar and Nasruddin. The policemen were on special guard duty on the eve of August 14.
“I had told all policemen earlier to remain alert because target killers could carry out attacks any time,” Quetta police chief Ghulam Shabbir Sheikh told journalists.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2010.
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