11 die, 4 injured in militants highway blockade in SW Pak


11 die, 4 injured in militants highway blockade in SW Pak

Islamabad: Eleven people died and four injured as militants killed passengers of several vehicles in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, officials said on Saturday.

The incident happened at around 7:00 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Friday when the militants hoisting flags of the banned outfit Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) on their motorbikes blocked a highway in Nushki district of the province, official sources from the district told Xinhua.

“During the snap checking of each passing-by vehicle, the BLA militants offloaded nine passengers from a bus bound to Iran’s Taftan from Balochistan’s provincial capital of Quetta and shot them dead in nearby hills,” the sources added.

The deceased were identified as residents from different cities in the eastern Punjab province. They were believed to be singled out by the militants who scrutinized their passports before targeting them.

Two more people were killed with four others injured when the militants fired upon another vehicle and a motorbike after they refused to stop for snap-checking.

The militants maintained the road blockade till around 8:30 p.m. local time when they were dispersed after an exchange of fire with the security forces, the sources added.

Following the militants’ attack, the security forces kicked off a search operation in the area.

The sources added that snap-checking has been observed multiple times, usually after important festivals, including the Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr when laborers travel to Balochistan after spending holidays.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has condemned the attack and conveyed condolences to the families of the victims.

He vowed to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack and their facilitators will face real punishment.

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