Gunmen shot dead three people, including a police constable and two members of the Haraza community, in Balochistan’s provincial capital on Monday as security forces conducted raids across the province and rounded up dozens of suspects, including people involved in Sunday’s blast in Quetta.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema said four men riding on two motorcycles opened fire at the people standing in a queue outside the passport office, located at the city’s Joint Road. “Members of the Hazara community were apparently their target,” Cheema told reporters.
As a result of the firing, people identified as Mohammad Hussain, Bashir Hussain and police constable Kila Khan died on the spot while three people Bibi Fatima, Jan Dost and Niamatullah got bullet wounds. The deceased and the injured were later taken to the Civil Hospital.
According to eyewitnesses, the motorcyclists after committing the attack escaped from the scene unchallenged.
Later, people belonging to Hazara community staged a sit-in outside the IG police office and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits. The protestors ended their sit-in after successful negotiation with Quetta’s Assistant Commissioner Tariq Javed Mengal.
DIG Cheema said the incident was a sectarian killing and there was evidence that two separate banned outfits – Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaishul Islam – were behind it. “Both the groups are separate entities but their aim is the same,” he said.
He said after the incident law enforcing agencies carried out a targeted search operation and arrested a number of suspected targeted killers. However, he refused to disclose any further details.
Meanwhile, Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan on Monday nailed eight people allegedly involved in the Meezan Chowk blast during separate raids in Quetta and Mastung. One man was killed and 19, including three women, were injured in the incident that took place on Sunday evening.
“The FC and law enforcement agencies launched a joint search operation at Baldiya Plaza and arrested three suspected persons while arms and ammunition were also recovered from them,” said the FC’s spokesman Khan Wasey.
According to Wasey, the paramilitary force and intelligence agencies also raided a compound in Daringhar area of District Mastung and rounded up five suspected persons while confiscating sophisticated weapons and ammunitions.
The FC and other law enforcement agencies also raided an empty compound in the bordering town of Chaman and recovered an explosive laden motorbike that was going to be used in a terror activity.
“The IED approximately contained 7kg of explosives but fortunately the FC’s timely raid foiled terrorists’ mission and many innocent lives were saved,” said FC’s spokesperson.
The paramilitary force also arrested three suspected militants involved in blowing-up gas pipe lines and government installations in Dera Bugti and Sui. “The FC and Intelligence agencies launched a search operation Nodan Goth area of Sui and captured three suspected militants on Monday,” the FC spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the FC and intelligence agencies also carried out a search operation on the outskirts of Quetta close to its Eastern Bypass in the late hours of Monday. During the search operation the security force had an armed encounter with suspected terrorists and in the ensuing gun fight two suspected terrorist were killed. Sources said a security force’s personnel also got wounded in the encounter, which was under way till filing of the report.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.