Grisly carnage: Gunmen kill 18 would-be migrants in Turbat

Published: July 7, 2012
Four gunmen riding on two motorcycles opened fire on the bus with automatic weapons. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

Four gunmen riding on two motorcycles opened fire on the bus with automatic weapons. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE


Gunmen mowed down a group of would-be migrants in Turbat district near the Iranian border on Friday, killing at least 18 people and injuring another two in what appears to be an ethnically-motivated attack.

Abdul Razzaq Sasoli, the acting assistant commissioner, confirmed the death count. Those attacked were trying to travel with the help of smugglers to Europe through Iran, he said.

The victims – mostly from Punjab – travelled from Karachi to Turbat in a passenger bus which dropped them in the Dasht area, according to sources.

“They were waiting for their agent (a human smuggler) in a deserted place in the Shooli Jam Bazaar area, around 20 kilometres from the Iranian border, when four gunmen riding on two motorcycles opened fire on them with automatic weapons,” one source told The Express Tribune.

Balochistan Levies official Mohammad Saleem, however, claimed the men were targeted when they boarded a pick-up truck for their onward journey to Iran.

Sources said 14 of the victims belonged to Punjab, while the rest were from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Levies officials drove the casualties to a local hospital. The bodies were sent to Punjab and K-P after medico-legal formalities. The injured have been admitted for treatment of their wounds which were not life-threatening, medics said.

A little-known Baloch insurgent group, Baloch Liberation Tigers (BLT), claimed responsibility for the carnage.

A purported spokesperson for the group, Meeran Baloch, told Quetta-based journalists in a phone call that the men were killed for their ethnic affiliation. He warned that a similar fate awaits anyone from Punjab trying to use this Balochistan route.

An array of insurgent groups has been fighting a protracted insurgency in Balochistan, demanding more autonomy and control over the natural resources of the province.

Settlers, especially from Punjab, have been repeatedly targeted by these groups who consider them ‘usurpers’.

The difficult and little monitored route where Friday’s attack took place is mainly used by illegal immigrants for their journey to Eastern Europe via Iran.

Human traffickers prefer this route to dodge Iranian border guards, while Pakistani security officials allegedly turn a blind eye to this illegal business in return for hefty amounts of money.

Iran hands over dozens of illegal Pakistani immigrants almost daily to the district officials at the Taftan border crossing. Tehran has protested to Islamabad umpteen times over this human trafficking business – but to no avail.

There was no official word on the grisly incident from the Frontier Corps, which is responsible for the border security with Iran — from Jiwani to Malik Sia Koh in Chagai district and near the Afghan border.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik denounced the carnage and ordered an inquiry.

Earlier this month, 15 Shias belonging to the Hazara community were killed after gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying 50 passengers from Taftan to Quetta.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned sectarian extremist group, had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • jibran
    Jul 7, 2012 - 3:55AM

    Chief justice is directly responsible for this carnage. He continues to deliver “justice selectively”, only to use so motto for personal gains rather than for delivering justice. What a shame!


  • Asad
    Jul 7, 2012 - 4:05AM

    For how long will this ethnic cleansing of Punjabis continue? After this attack,an impression was created by social media activists that this was a sectarian massacre when infact it was genocide of punjabis in balochistan.The social media activists who made hashtags trend on twitter & who tweeted their outrage over the sectarian attack didn’t correct the claims they had spread on twitter even when the truth about this ethnic attack came to light.


  • Danish Majeed
    Jul 7, 2012 - 4:09AM

    Why did our news channels create the impression and propagate this narrative that this barbarism was religiously motivated terrorism? Even after the terrorist group behind it had claimed responsibility the channels continued to mislead the public.
    it was a racist attack targetting punjabi civilians who were looking for jobs overseas.


  • jibran
    Jul 7, 2012 - 4:23AM

    When radicalized judges sit in the courts, who continue to free terrorists and after retirement defend killers and confessed terrorists, refuse to take suo motto against the butchering of innocent civilians, there remains no doubt whose side they are on, and that despite their tall claims, they are least concerned with the lives of the ordinary. And this pains the law loving pakistanis.


  • Faraz Saeed
    Jul 7, 2012 - 4:40AM

    The hypocrisy of socail media warriors was plain to see on this issue.When the first news of this massacre came,all the usual champions of human rights expressed their fury and horror at the sectarian terrorism,but when things became clear that it was ethnic terrorism against punjabis,the same champions of human rights went completely silent,not one tweet of condemnation,not an iota of outrage expressed.
    Why doesn’t the targetted murder of Punjabi labourers count as a human rights violation for our social media activists?


  • faraz
    Jul 7, 2012 - 5:02AM

    Ethnic terrorists don’t even spare ordinary poor men who have nothing to do with Baloch rights


  • Zzzz
    Jul 7, 2012 - 5:14AM

    Repeat of 71 in the offing. in 1971 Bengalis started killing west pakistanis first in a similar manner and then completely wiped out the genocide of beharis from their history books. Now Baloch are doing the same and when the army will take action, it will be called genocide.


  • Saif
    Jul 7, 2012 - 5:22AM

    Why you all start blaming chief justice for this stuff? Why don’t you blame the people who are actually responsible i.e. Zardari, Aslam Raisani and Kayani? Why dragging chief justice in every case? He is not responsible for anything happening around the country – its the government’s responsibility to act. Since this is an incumbent and failed government which is baby-sitted by army, therefore, the ultimate responsibility of security related issues lies with army personnel and border security forces – not with the chief justice~! Long live chief justice! long live Pakistan!


  • OP
    Jul 7, 2012 - 5:35AM

    How it is CJ’s fault? Please enlighten me with your twisted logic. Courts do not make any laws they just interpret them. Its the job of parliament which is too busy making dual nationalities legal. Last time I checked name of Prime Minister of Pakistan was Raja Rental not Iftikhar Javied, so please do not try using your stupid logic to blame courts for every thing. The terrorists are freed because of lack of evidence and countless loopholes with in the system not because of the personal bias of judges, further more these terrorist groups threaten every one, included security officials and judges. Now you can continue your work as a circus clown or the least funny stand up comedian.

    The violence in Baluchistan have reached new levels and I would suggest that every one should carry weapons like the Chief Minister Riasani, so atleast if some one trys to kill you you can take one or two with you.

    What else do we need to realize that Pakistan is a state being governed by a failed government.


  • abbas
    Jul 7, 2012 - 5:41AM

    once again shias have been martyred.more public inquiries but no action.No suo moto initiated by the slaves of wahabis!!!!Pakistan a lowest of the low bandit country.Imran Khan why no tsunami ?Looks like you are no different from them!!!


  • Hamayun
    Jul 7, 2012 - 5:58AM

    Baloch Liberation TIGER? HMMMM.. TIGER??? That Reminds me of Tamil TIGERS!! All these Tigers are Fabricated in the Terrorism Factory of Our Neighbor who is Self-Sufficient in STATE TERRORISM. Get those Terrorists and You will find Hindu Terrorists Behind this game. India is an Old Hand in this since a very long time. This whole Plot is Manned and financed By the Hindu RAW.


  • Afghan Lion
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:23AM


    And what makes Punjabi’s so special in relation to other ethnic attacks? You have to learn how to speak my friend. Your assertion that this is different because Punjabi’s were the victims will keep people from being compassionate. It also shows your lack of compassion for others in the same position.


  • Tahir
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:25AM

    Don’t insult my intelligence by blaming the Chief Justice for this, its the sheer incompetence of the government to resolve the security situation.


  • SouthEastAsian
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:28AM

    Wrong. We only give moral support to the freedom fighters in Azad Balochistan. We don’t even allow our “non-state actors” to help in the freedom struggle of our friends in Balochistan.


  • Sameer Awan
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:31AM

    @abbas: Open your eyes champion of human rights. It have nothing to do with Shias. They were killed because they were Punjabis. In this month alone more than 30 Punjabis have been killed but all parties including PMLN and Tsunami Champion and so called soon to be prime minister are totally silent.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:31AM

    Punjab had it coming. They have been dominating every sector of Pakistan since its inception – be it economic, political etc. You only have to compare the living standards of cities like Multan, Lahore and Sialkot with cities like Ziarat, Quetta, Gwadar, Thatta and Badin.


  • mr. righty rightist
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:39AM


    Yes Humayun. It is India who is killing innocent people in Pakistan. In fact the mob that lynched two brothers in Sialkot was a Hindu mob. The mob that burned a deranged person to death was also a Hindu mob.

    Your comments remind me of one thing – 1971.

    Prior to the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, people just like Humayun were accusing Hindus of conspiracy to break up Pakistan. And your wish came true. This time, it will come true again.

    I am happy. Indians are happy. You should be happy too. Soon you will have lesser area, lesser headache to manage.


  • Sameer Awan
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:39AM

    It is my request to Punjab government that since they were poor migrants who choose to go that way kindly compensate them and also give their family with some money as those who were killed were either teens or very young people. Also please make arrangements to bring their bodies back to Punjab as whatever thay have agents usually took away from them and now their familes have nothing except misery.


  • jhun
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:49AM

    Indian secret agencies are doing everything in their power to destabilize Pakistan. Its time Pakistani media stops ranting “Aman” with India.


  • Basit
    Jul 7, 2012 - 6:59AM

    So all those who always say that the state or agencies are involved in any attack that happens on shias or baloch because apparently nothing can happen without the approval of agencies, what about this incident? Is the establishment or so called “deep state” killing Punjabi civilians as well? How does this “logic” work now?


  • SomeoneFromSomewhere
    Jul 7, 2012 - 8:09AM

    whats the problem with these guys? give us a break!!


  • Aamir Fayyaz
    Jul 7, 2012 - 8:17AM

    I think its rather unfair that people try to blame Chief Justice whenever something bad happens in the country. All you people please be a little bit reasonable. When people die in sectarian violence its the security forces to blame,. If the security forces don’t do their duty right its your elected representatives to blame because they are inept and fail to protect you. And because you voted them into the parliament that makes you directly responsible for choosing most corrupt and inept leaders.
    The current chief Justice is perhaps the most hyper active CJ our country has ever seen. At least he is trying his level best to make a change.

    Aamir Fayyaz


  • Sultan Khan
    Jul 7, 2012 - 8:18AM

    Nawaz, every now and then, sheds crocodiles’ tears over the killing of Bugti, himself a callous murderer, but keeps mum over the deaths of innocent Punjabis in Baluchistan. He spares no opportunity to condemn the Pakistan Armed Forces but never condemns the butchers of Balochistan and never sympathises with the bereaved Punjabi families. Perhaps he is right in doing so as Bugti was his equal whereas poor Punjabis are not.


  • Mohit Chinoy
    Jul 7, 2012 - 8:31AM

    but there are 30% muslims also in RAW, what will u say now??


  • Usman
    Jul 7, 2012 - 8:39AM

    Forget foreigners, they’ll finish each other off themselves by killing their own brothers and sisters. What a sorry state Muslims are in, its pathetic.


  • Sehr.Siddiqui
    Jul 7, 2012 - 9:04AM

    Please check history. It was our Army which killed Bengalis at point blank and directly. And after shooting they use to laugh. The dynamics in Baluchistan are quite different. Learning from history requires reading the history. How many dead bodies were brought to West Pakistan then and how many dead bodies are brought to Punjab today. How many shias were killed in East Pakistan then and how many are killed today all over the country today. Court can only give justice, it is to be implemented by Administration. Our administration is The personal servant to Sardars, Waderas, Khans and Chaudries and their own kind. Things will go from bad to worse because our diagnosis is tainted. Prescription is as effective as the diagnosis. Wait for another East Pakistan.


  • Raja
    Jul 7, 2012 - 9:22AM

    Indians and Afghans are so happy. Don’t worry, your time will come soon as well.


  • Mohit Chinoy
    Jul 7, 2012 - 9:27AM

    good one ha ha ha


  • Maria
    Jul 7, 2012 - 9:57AM

    I don’t think that the killing of poor Punjabis and Pashtuns using the land route in Baluchistan to smuggle themselves illegally into Europe helps the cause of anyone. Frankly this smacks of just another desperate attempt by Indian supported criminals to kill innocent Pakistanis and then to paint it as a Baluch attack.


  • Ali
    Jul 7, 2012 - 10:44AM

    India is supporting and sponsoring these terrorist acts inside Pakistan. It’s time to say goodbye to aman ki asha. We want government to use all mean necassary to establish peace in the country and we want Occupied Kashmir issue back on table. Enough dealing with enemies of Pakistan.


  • Ali Chattha
    Jul 7, 2012 - 11:03AM

    Why are we accusing India or Afghanistan, they are declared enemies, they will do anything they can to harm us (so we do with them). Its Baluch who are killing Punjabi, Muhajir and Kashmiri settlers in Baluchistan and they are killing innocent people day-in-day-out.

    Enough is Enough. We Punjabis are not that weeks they might have perceived us. Its a high time now to respond these Baluch killers in the same coin, if we Punjabi are supposed to be cursed at the end of the day…so, lets earn some curse this time. for the first time i find some rational in what Musharaf did with them,

    In fact, Musharaf recognized them much earlier than us. Yes, Musharaf is widely ‘cursed’ for his deeds. but, he has earned that cursed. when these Baluch fired a rocket on his Helicopter near Kohlu district, Musharaf hit them back them right in their home.on contrary We Punjabis are being cursed for every thing in Baluchistan and yet we are getting killed.
    Its time to hit back… Gen. Keyani


  • Ayesha
    Jul 7, 2012 - 11:44AM

    So sad, I visited Balochistan in the early 90s and there was not one separatist voice in the province. They were all proud to be Pakistanis.


  • Abbas Ahmad
    Jul 7, 2012 - 1:35PM

    i completely agree with @Pakistani Agnostic and @sehr siddiqui. @zzzz needs to study history well before making baseless comments…. this is a condemnable act and genuine baloch insurgents cant be involved. baloch liberation tigers a n unheard group seems a bit suspicious, its being used to damage baloch resistance movement..


  • Sameer Awan
    Jul 7, 2012 - 3:00PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic: It seems you not dont believe in God and with it your believe on humanity is over as well. You semms to be happy on the killing of Punjabis in Balochistan and telling the rationale that it is alright. I think you should be ashamed of yourself


  • khalsa
    Jul 7, 2012 - 9:57PM

    ya ya its everything is because of hindu conspirators. be in this delusion and soon your efforts will go in vain you will disintegrate


  • razaq
    Jul 7, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Shame to those who ask for action.Resolve issues on ground not in your room.Go and see Dast……..


  • Naz
    Jul 7, 2012 - 10:33PM

    @mr. righty rightist:
    Yes you are quite right. It was a Muslim army which entered from India and occupied E.Pakistan. It was Muslim Government in West Bengal which trained Mukti Bahni for fighting against Pakistan. Yes every country faces rebellious situation. For example, in East Punjab Akali Dal, a separatist party, swept the General Elections. India, instead of cancelling these elections and without resorting to genocide of Sikhs, not only accepted the results of these elections, but also granted independence to Skhs and now East Punjab is a sovereign country like Bangladesh. Isn’t it true??????????????????????????????


  • Naz
    Jul 7, 2012 - 11:00PM

    Yes you are 200% correct.


  • Naz
    Jul 8, 2012 - 12:14AM

    @Sehr.Siddiqui: Indian army has also massacred thousands of Kashmiris, in Kashmir, resorted to genocide in East Punjab and Nagalad to quell popular rebellion, but this didn’t lead to creation of sovereign countries, like Kashmir, Khalistan or Nagaland unlike E.Pakistan why???????????????????


  • Naz
    Jul 8, 2012 - 12:19AM

    It is not least comparable with E.Pakistan. In Balauchistan the rebels completely lack public support, as these handful armed agents of India are unable to win a` single seat in general elections.


  • Ahmed
    Jul 9, 2012 - 2:00AM

    As you sow, so shall you reep


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