ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police said Saturday that gunmen killed at least six construction workers and injured two others in an overnight attack in the turbulent southwestern Baluchistan province — the country’s largest province bordering Afghanistan and Iran.
The shooting occurred in the Turbat district of the natural resources-rich province, targeting a group of migrants from the country’s most-populous central Punjab province. Police and witnesses said the victims were asleep when unknown assailants stormed their residence and sprayed them with bullets before fleeing the site.
“Deeply saddened to hear about the terrorist attack on innocent laborers in Turbat,” Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on social media platform X, and he expressed condolences to the victims’ families. “We condemn this heinous act and stand united against terrorism.”
The so-called Baluch Liberation Army, or BLA, an ethnic-based separatist militant group, took responsibility for the deadly shootings. BLA and other Baluch insurgents routinely attack Pakistani security forces and settlers from other parts of the country.
Baluchistan has recently received significant Chinese investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, a bilateral extension of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure development undertaking.
BLA is listed as a global terrorist organization by the United States and has attacked Chinese nationals associated with CPEC projects and repeatedly warned China to end its alleged exploitation of Baluch resources and withdraw from the province.
Last month, a suicide bombing of a religious procession in the province’s Mastung district killed nearly 60 Muslim devotees and injured dozens more. To date, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Suspicions fell on Islamic State, however, along with militants linked to the anti-state Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. Both of those groups are also active in Baluchistan.__VOA News