QUETTA - At least 10 construction workers were gunned down and four others injured by two gum men on Thursday in Dasht area of District Mastung, some 30 kilometres south of Quetta.
A group of labourers were busy in road construction in Kaboo of Splingy area when two armed men riding a motorcycle appeared and asked them to line up, and then they opened indiscriminate fire on the labourers.
As a result, nine persons were killed on the spot while five others, inluding a boy, received serious bullet injuries. The assailants then fled the scene. Later, one of the injured succumbed to his injuries.
When contacted, Mastung Deputy Commissioner Shah Irfan Gharshin, who was on the spot, confirmed the death toll and told that the labourers belonged to Quetta.
Meanwhile, Baloch United Liberation Army Spokesman Mureed Baloch in a phone call to a news agency claimed the responsibility for the gruesome killings.
Later the dead and injured were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta for postmortem and medical treatment. The dead were identified as Barat, Naiko, Noor Muhammad, Aurangzaib, Daro Khan, Yar Muhammad, Akbar, Niamatullah, Muhammad Saleem and Abdula Ghaffar while injured were Barat Khan, Mirza Khan, Baran and Gulab Khan.
One of the injured, Barat Khan told that a day before (Wednesday) around ten armed persons came to their camp in two vehicle and asked them to leave the area or face the consequences. He said that this morning (Thursday) two armed men came on a bike and asked the labourers to surrender their cash and mobile phones.
All the workers followed their directions. Then one of the raiders sprayed bullets on the lined up labourers while the other shoot the happening with a video camera. He said when the assailant opened fire, some of the labourers started running for their lives. He said that five of them, including him, were lucky enough to save their lives though they also received bullet injuries but nine others lost their lives.
Later some one hundred relatives of deceased from Samungli, a suburban area of Quetta, reached the hospital and staged a strong protest. They also blocked the main Jinnah Road by burning used tyres and forcing the ambulances carrying the dead bodies to park across the road. After an hour of their protest, Quetta deputy commissioner accompanied by DIG Police (Operation) Wazir Khan Nasaar held negotiation with the protestors and persuaded them to disperse peacefully in the wake of firm assurances on behalf of the chief minister to bring the attackers to book.
Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani strongly condemned the killing of labourers and directed the administration to arrest the culprits as soon as possible. The governor said that the murder of innocent people whether they belong to any religion or ethnic group or tribe was condemnable as they had nothing to do with the politics. He said the only concern of these labourers was earning bread and butter for their families.
Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party also staged a protest in front of Quetta Press Club and gave a shutter down call in the provincial capital. The speakers strongly condemned the killing of innocent labourers and demanded the authorities take strict action against the attackers. They criticised the provincial government for failing to control the law and order situation in Balochistan and urged the chief minister and his cabinet to step down.
Meanwhile, armed assailants shot dead a tribal leader and his five guards in Khuzdar district, some 360 kilometres southeast of Quetta, on Thursday.
According to Levies Force officials, Mir Saeed Ahmed Qalandarani was on his way after attending a jirga in the Binap area when armed men at Tutak area of Khuzdar sprayed a volley of bullets at his vehicle. Resultantly, Qalandarani along with his five guards was killed, while another was wounded.
Eyewitnesses said the assailants were riding a motorbike and fled the scene after committing the crime.
After the incident, local administration rushed to the spot and moved the dead and injured to a hospital in Khuzdar where the deceased were identified as Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Nasrullah, Qadir Bakhsh, Abdul Hameed and Muhammad Jan. However, the motive behind the murder could not be ascertained.
Local administration has registered a case and started investigation into the incident.
Militants execute 10 road workers