Karachi: At least 19 passengers were shot dead on Friday night after being abducted by militants from two Karachi- bound buses in Pakistan's troubled Balochistan province. Around 30-35 passengers were abducted by militants from two buses en route to Karachi from Quetta in Mastung district in the restive province.
"They were around 20 to 25 kidnappers who stopped the two passenger buses and kidnapped around 30 people," Balochistan's Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said.
"Initial reports suggest that the kidnappers had shot dead 19 passengers," he said.
He said at present a fierce gun battle was going on between the kidnappers and the frontier corps and levies forces in the area as the security forces had immediately started a massive search operation after the incident.
A senior official told reporters that around 30 to 35 passengers were taken hostage by the kidnappers who stopped the buses near Khadkochay area of Mastung district by opening fire on them. The kidnappers came in cars.
Soon after reports of abduction emerged, the Frontier Corps and levies had launched a massive operation in the area.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had directed officials to ensure the safe and speedy recovery of the passengers. Shortly after the incident, ambulances and rescue officials rushed to the area under the protection of the security forces.
Mastung is one of the troubled areas of the Balochistan province which has been hit by insurgents, militants and sectarian violence.