20 passengers killed as gunmen attack buses in Balochistan
Interior minister Balochistan Sarfraz Bugti has confirmed killing of 20 hostages. He said Levies forces have recovered six of the kidnapped people.
Bugti later told media that there is strong possibility of involvement of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) behind the attack.
The minister said forces were going after the militants. The kidnappers were at least 25 in numbers.
Eye witnesses claim that the terrorists demanded CNICs and separated passengers belonging to Baloch and Pathan ethnicities before killing them.
Firing between forces and gunmen is underway. Heavy contingent of law enforcers has also been called to the spot.
The buses were en-route from Pasheen to Karachi.
Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Malik Baloch while expressing grief over the carnage vowed to bring the culprits of deadly attack to justice.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) chief Allama Nasir Abbas Jafri strongly condemned the attack.
All Market Association, Anjuman-e-Tajran (Trade Association) and All Balochistan Hotel and Restaurant association announced a strike today to mourn the attack and show solidarity with victims.
The dead bodies and injured victims of the attack were moved to Quetta Civil Hospital.
Families of the victims have staged sit-in outside Civil Hospital Quetta while announcing to take the protest to governor house.
“The attackers forced the buses to stop, abducted more than two dozen passengers, and then shot at least 19 dead,” said Ismail Ibrahim, a senior official in troubled Baluchistan province.
The buses were en route to the port city of Karachi when they were stormed in Mastung district, according to Akbar Harifal, deputy district commissioner.
Harifal said security forces had rescued five passengers after an exchange of fire. It was unclear exactly how many passengers had been on the buses.
“Police and paramilitary have cordoned off the area and an exchange of fire is still ongoing,” he said.
A statement from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office condemned the attack.
Resource-rich Baluchistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but Baluch separatists demanding greater autonomy have been waging an insurgency for years and the province is also riven by sectarian strife and Islamist violence.
Rebels began their fifth insurgency against the state in 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting since then
EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT