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Pakistan Print 2024-04-14

11 gunned down in Noshki

  • Victims were identified and then killed, adding that they hailed from Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, and Wazirabad cities of Punjab. He said their bodies were found in a desolate, mountainous area
Published April 14, 2024

NOSHKI: Eleven people were killed in two separate firing incidents early on Saturday morning along the National Highway in Noshki district of Balochistan.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the harrowing incident and sought a report.

The first incident took place as a bus carrying passengers from Quetta to Taftan was targeted by armed assailants. Nine passengers were kidnapped from the bus and subsequently shot to death.

The Noshki SSP said the victims were identified and then killed, adding that they hailed from Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, and Wazirabad cities of Punjab. He said their bodies were found in a desolate, mountainous area.

In the other incident, a vehicle plying on the National Highway was fired upon, in which two persons were killed and three others injured.

The victims were residents of Noshki.

Police said that some 12 armed men, according to the police, had blocked the N-40 Regional Corporations Development (RCD) highway. They stopped a bus and took nine passengers to the nearby mountains, where they were shot dead, after verifying their national identity cards.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the incidents and expressed deep sorrow and regret. He prayed for the victim and expressed sympathy and condolences with their families. He sought a report on the incident, stressing that terrorism would be eradicated from the country. “Terrorists and their facilitators will be punished,” the PM stressed.

Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi wasted no time in strongly condemning the incidents and expressing sorrow and grief over the heinous acts. He emphasised that such atrocities have no place in the Pakistan envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He also expressed solidarity with the bereaved families and said the government stood with them in this hour of grief. He vowed to ensure that those responsible for the bloodshed are brought swiftly to justice.

Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti echoed similar sentiments, condemning the barbaric killings and reaffirming his commitment to relentlessly pursue and prosecute the perpetrators. He asserted that the terrorists involved in the incidents would not be spared, emphasising that the enemies of peace are enemies of the nation itself. “The killing of passengers is an inhumane act, an unforgivable crime,” he asserted, adding that the terrorists involved in the “cowardly attacks on innocent people would be chased and eliminated.

Bugti extended his heartfelt condolences to the grieving families and reassured them of the government’s resolve in the face of such cowardly acts. “The state will play its part,” he added.—INP

AFP adds: Police are searching for suspected separatist militants after migrant labourers were singled out for execution. Six gunmen had stopped a bus near the city of Noshki around 8:00 pm on Friday and checked ID cards, abducting nine workers from the eastern region of Punjab.

Their bodies were later found two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the highway having been “fired upon at point blank range”, senior local police officer Allah Bakhsh told AFP. The same attackers later fired at a car belonging to a provincial parliamentarian, Bakhsh said. The lawmaker was not in the vehicle, but two people were killed when the car careened into a ditch.

Bakhsh said a manhunt was under way and gunmen “clearly used the modus operandi of Baloch separatists”, who have waged a decades-long insurgency targeting security forces and outside influence in the region.

A witness Tahir Hussain — who was travelling with the larger group of victims — told AFP “a group of gunmen blockaded the highway, forcing the bus to stop”. “They asked which one of us was Punjabi,” the 50-year-old said. “Those who were accompanying families were spared.” “They took the others with them at gunpoint,” he added. “After a while, we heard gunshots from a distance.”

Senior Noshki district administration official Habibullah Musakhail told AFP that “police and paramilitary forces started combing the area for the arrest of the attackers”. “But the attackers have managed to flee the area this time,” he said, also confirming the death toll.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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