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Pakistan: 11 abducted, gunned down by militants in violence-prone Balochistan province

Armed militants stopped a bus at a highway in Balochistan's Noshki district and kidnapped nine labourers at gunpoint, all of whom were shot dead later. In a separate incident, two people were killed after militants opened fire on a vehicle.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Quetta Updated on: April 13, 2024 13:14 IST
Representational Image
Image Source : FILE Representational Image

Quetta: At least 11 people, including nine passengers, were gunned down by unknown militants in two separate incidents in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, according to authorities on Saturday. Armed men stopped a bus on a highway in Noshki district and kidnapped nine men at gunpoint on Friday, police said.

The travellers were stopped on the National Highway from Quetta to Taftan in the province and were abducted. The police launched a search operation and found their bodies under a bridge near a hill, all of them shot dead, reported Geo News. “The bodies of these nine men were later found with bullet wounds in the nearby mountainous areas near a bridge,” one official said.

The murdered men belonged to the Mandi Bahauddin, Wazirabad and Gujranwala areas of Punjab. All of the deceased men were labourers, said Noshki Superintendent of Police (SP) Allah Bukhsh. In another incident, a car was fired upon on the same highway in which two passengers were killed and two others injured.

Pak PM seeks report of incident

Noshki Deputy Commissioner Habibullah Musakhel said a dozen militants had blocked the same highway and started checking vehicles. They reportedly opened fire on a vehicle that did not stop, killing one of the men who was a relative of a Member of National Assembly (MNA). 

Balochistan’s Chief Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said that the terrorists involved in the killing of the 11 people on the Noshki highway would not be forgiven and hunted down soon. Bugti that the terrorists involved in the attacks would be chased, adding that their aim was to sabotage the peace of Balochistan. Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi also condemned the incident and expressed his support to the kin of the victims.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asserted that the terrorists and their facilitators will be brought to justice, and sought a report of the incident. No banned outfit has claimed responsibility for the killings but in recent weeks this year, there has been a surge in terror attacks by banned outfits and terrorists in the province in which security forces and installations have also been brazenly targeted.

Terrorist attacks in Balochistan

The banned Balochistan Liberation Army has claimed to have carried out three major terror strikes in the province in recent weeks in Mach town, Gwadar port and a naval base in Turbat in which security forces killed some 17 militants.

Pakistan saw at least 245 terror attacks, primarily in the violence-prone Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, during the first quarter of 2024 that resulted in 432 deaths and 370 injuries among civilians, security personnel and rebels, according to a think tank report. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan accounted for 86 per cent of the attacks and 92 per cent of the deaths.

In the first quarter of 2024, the Balochistan province of Pakistan recorded a massive 96 per cent surge in violence, with fatalities rising from 91 in the last quarter of 2023 to 178 in 2024. Sindh saw a nearly 47 per cent rise in violence, though the number of fatalities was very low. The regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan recorded decreases in violence by 24 per cent, 85 per cent, and 65 per cent respectively.

(with inputs from PTI)

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