QUETTA: Armed men shot dead at least three labourers in the Pasni area of Gwadar district on Sunday. Chakar Baloch, SHO Gwadar, identified the slain labourers as Ashfaq, Muhammad Zeeshan and Muhammad Azhar. “They were working on an electricity transmission line from Pasni to Gwadar,” Baloch told The Express Tribune by phone from Pasni.
“There were nine gunmen. They came to the scene on motorcycles,” SHO Baloch said.
Two Balochistan Constabulary officials were deployed for the security of the workers, but the gunmen took them hostage before methodically killing the labourers, he added. The gunmen snatched the weapons of the servicemen before fleeing the scene.
The slain labourers hailed from the Khanewal district of Punjab, he said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Baloch insurgents have carried out similar attacks motivated by ethnic hatred against settlers, a term used for residents of Balochistan from other provinces of the country.
In other violence, a man was killed and 18 others, including three women, were wounded in a bomb explosion in the busy Meezan Chowk of downtown of Quetta.
DIG Abdul Razzaq Cheema confirmed the casualties. “Terrorists have now chosen innocent citizens as their target,” Cheema told reporters at the scene. It was an improvised explosive device and it was detonated when Meezan Chowk was packed with shoppers.
According to security sources, a man was carrying explosives in a shopping bag that went off, tearing away two legs and right hand of the man. An official of the Bomb Disposal Squad said the device weighed around five kilos.
The casualties were driven to the Civil Hospital where medics said four of the injured persons, including a woman, were in a critical condition. The dead man could not be identified which led the security sources to conjecture that he was actually carrying the explosives.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly bomb attack. Security forces maintained their presence near the site which has repeatedly come under bomb attacks from militants. Balochistan has been wracked by a low-key insurgency since 2004 which became bloodier since the killing of Jamhoori Wattan Party chief Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation in 2006.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2015.