Pakistan: 14 offloaded from passenger bus, shot dead on Makran Coastal Highway

Pakistan: 14 offloaded from passenger bus, shot dead on Makran Coastal Highway

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At least 14 passengers were forcibly offloaded from a bus on the Makran Coastal Highway in Balochistan’s Ormara area and shot dead by unidentified assailants early on Thursday.

According to Balochistan Inspector General of Police Mohsin Hassan Butt, around 15-20 unidentified armed assailants in camouflage reportedly stopped five or six buses travelling between Karachi and Gwadar. Balochistan Home Secretary Haider Ali told AFP that the assailants were wearing Frontier Corps uniforms.

In the Buzi Top area, between 12:30am and 1am, the gunmen stopped a bus, checked the identity cards of passengers and offloaded about 16 of them, the IGP said. According to a local official, Jehangir Dashti, some three dozen people were travelling in the bus.

IGP Butt explained that it was a “targeted killing”. The victims were identified via their CNICs and shot at close range, he said.

At least 14 were shot dead, while two passengers managed to escape the massacre and made it to the nearest Levies checkpost. They were shifted to Ormara Hospital for treatment.

A naval personnel and a coast guard member were among those killed, the home secretary said.

Levies and other law enforcement personnel reached the spot and launched an investigation into the incident. The bodies of the victims were recovered from Noor Baksh Hotel.

The motive behind the killings and the identity of the victims are yet to be ascertained. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings.

Home Minister Zia Langove told AFP that a full-scale investigation had been launched into the attack and to track down the gunmen, who he said had fled the scene. “Such incidents are intolerable and we will not spare the terrorists who carried out this dastardly attack,” he said.

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.

Within the past week, Balochistan saw a terror attack targeting the Hazara community in Quetta which left at least 20 killed, and a blast in Chaman which targeted security forces.

CM condemns attack, offers condolences

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal condemned the incident and offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

“These cowardly terrorists showed the extent of their barbarism by murdering innocent passengers,” the chief minister said. 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”.

“The people of Balochistan look upon terrorists who follow the agenda of foreign elements with hate,” he said. “Through the support of the people, terrorism will be eliminated and the terrorists will continue to be brought to justice.”

Prime Minster Imran Khan also condemned the killings in a statement from his office.__Dawn.com

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