QUETTA, April 21: The house of National Party (NP) chief Dr Malik Baloch was attacked in Turbat while two activists of the Awami National Party were killed in firing at ANP’s election rally in Pishin district on Sunday.
The banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA) is reported to have claimed responsibility for both the attacks, although it was not confirmed by independent sources.
According to police, armed men on motorcycles hurled a grenade at the house of NP chief Dr Malik when he was presiding over a party meeting. The grenade exploded in an open area inside the house causing panic among the participants of the meeting.
The gunmen also opened fire at security guards deployed at the house. The guards returned fire. An exchange of fire took place, but no casualty was reported from either side.
NP’s provincial president Tahir Bizenjo told Dawn on phone that Dr Malik and other leaders attending the meeting were safe.
But BRA spokesman Sarbaz Baloch claimed in a call made from an unspecified place that four security guards of the National Party had been injured. But police denied the claim and said no one was hurt.
In the Pishin incident, a local leader and a worker of the ANP were killed and two others injured when gunmen opened fire at a vehicle in the party’s election rally in Killi Karbala area.
According to police, ANP’s Killi Karbala unit chief Mustafa Khan and activist Naqibullah suffered multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot.
The two injured workers were taken to a hospital in the area.
“We are investigating the incident,” police said. No arrest was made till late night.
Pishin’s Assistant Commissioner Yasir Bazai, however, claimed that local people had captured and killed one of the attackers.
It was the fourth election-related attack in Balochistan over the past one week. Offices of district election commissions were earlier attacked in Nushki, Kharan and Awaran.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference after the Turbat attack, NP President Dr Malik, who is contesting for a provincial assembly seat (Kech PB-48), said his party would continue its democratic struggle for the rights of Baloch people. “Such attacks cannot force the NP to change its policy of bringing about changes through democracy.”
NP’s central information secretary Jan Muhammad Buledi condemned the attack and termed it an attempt to sabotage the democratic process. He said it was surprising that an FC camp and SSP office were located quite near the residence of Dr Malik, but the assailants had successfully carried out their attack and escaped.
“The breaking of security zone is a matter of great concern,” he added.
Mr Buledi accused the government of failing to provide security to candidates and the environment under which political parties could smoothly carry out election campaigns. “We believe in respecting others and others should also respect our way of struggle,” he said.