QUETTA – As many as 18 Pakistani illegal immigrants, majority of who were Punjabis, were gunned down and two others injured in a deadly attack in Kechh district, 1,200kms from Quetta on Friday.
The Baloch Liberation Tigers claimed responsibility for the attack that was carried out in the Kadan mountainous area near the Iranian border. Reports said a group of illegal immigrants from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces were going to Iran through unconventional routes in four SUVs after dusk. Unidentified armed men on four motorcycles stopped the vehicles and pulled out all non-locals, lined them up and opened indiscriminate fire on them. As a result, 18 of them were killed and two injured, while one was lucky to escape unhurt. Among the dead, 13 were from Punjab, while the remaining five hailed from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The two people injured and the one who remained unhurt are also from Punjab.
Kechh Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Aslam Tareen said there was unauthentic news about the incident involving illegal Pakistani immigrants being hauled to Iran by human smugglers in the mountainous area of Kadan, 110kms from Turbat. He said unknown armed men opened indiscriminate fire on the vehicles that resulted in the killing of 18 people.
Tareen said a team had been dispatched to the area to confirm the reports. He said the district administration gathered the information through its tribal/local sources. To a question, he said in the wake of a number of incidents of armed attacks on illegal Pakistani immigrants at main border entry points, the administration had increased security around the main border crossing.
Tareen said following enhanced security measures at main entry points, the smugglers had started hauling people who wanted to reach European countries for seeking work to Iran through ragged mountainous routes. A spokesman of Baloch Liberation Tigers, Meeran Baloch, called several newspapers’ offices and claimed responsibility for the killing. Balochistan has been a hotbed of both ethnic and sectarian violence for the last several years now. Baloch rebels, irked by the government’s alleged inattention towards the resource rich province, have found solace in frequently killing non-Baloch residents across the province, especially those from Punjab. Just like sectarian cleansing of Shias, Punjabis have also been in the line of fire of Baloch renegades, who want independence for the province and want all non-Baloch settlers to return to their respective areas. -Pakistantoday