Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Gunmen kill 14 bus passengers in southwest Pakistan

Buzi Pass Makran Coastal Highway. ─ Wikimedia Commons Buzi Pass Makran Coastal Highway. ─ Wikimedia Commons
Patty Aguilar | 18 April, 2019, 12:59

A group of gunmen stopped a bus on a highway in southwestern Pakistan before forcing passengers off and executing 14 of them, according to local officials.

On April 12, at least 20 people were killed and 48 people sustained critical injuries in a terrorist attack targeting members of the Hazara community in Quetta's Hazarganji market.

He said the gunmen checked the passengers' identity cards before opening fire.

"A total of 16 people were offloaded and 14 killed while 2 managed to escape", the officer said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack on the passengers who were travelling on a coastal highway from the financial hub of Karachi towards Gwadar, the Arabian Sea port town where China is building a deep-water port.

The motive behind the killings and the identity of the victims are yet to be ascertained.

He expressed sympathies with the victims' families and ordered an investigation into the incident. The identity of the victims is yet to be known.

Ethnic Baloch separatist groups say outsiders are exploiting the region's natural wealth at the expense of local people and have previously targeted foreigners and Pakistanis from other regions.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the attack and has asked for a report of the attack.

A similar incident took place in Balochistan's Mastung area in 2015, when armed men kidnapped about two dozen passengers from two Karachi-bound coaches and killed at least 19 of them in the mountainous area of Khad Kocha. He described the attack as a conspiracy to halt progress in Balochistan and tarnish the country's image, and assured that "progress will continue no matter what".

Those who were not from Balochistan were marched off the bus and shot dead.

"He directed the authorities concerned to make every possible effort to identify and bring the perpetrators of the barbaric act to justice".

Balochistan Home Minister Ziaullah Langove said the dead passengers had their legs and hands tied.

The Frontier Corps is a provincial auxiliary force of the Pakistani government that maintains security on the borders with Iran and Afghanistan.

Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan said the terrorists killing innocents are working on an agenda pushed by anti-state elements.

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