QUETTA: Militants attacked two helicopters carrying relief goods in Balochistan's earthquake-affected Awaran district on Friday, the Frontier Crops spokesman said.

Khan Wasey, the FC spokesman said militants opened fire at two helicopters which were landing at Mashkay to provide relief goods to earthquake survivors.

"Small arms were used during the attack,” he said, adding that FC personnel engaged in relief activities retaliated and the militants sped away in their vehicles. "There was no loss of life."

In the second assault in as many days, the militants attacked the helicopter at a time when Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Malik Baloch, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan were on a visit to Awaran, the district in the province worst affected by Tuesday’s earthquake that has so far claimed 359 lives.

Moreover, 765 people were wounded in the 7.7 magnitude earthquake, with officials saying thousands had been left homeless and some 300,000 people had been affected in remote parts of the province.

Earthquake survivors carry relief goods that were collected from a distribution point in the town of Awaran, September 26, 2013. — Photo by Reuters
Earthquake survivors carry relief goods that were collected from a distribution point in the town of Awaran, September 26, 2013. — Photo by Reuters

The quake had toppled thousands of mud-built homes as it spread havoc through Awaran and Kech districts and through the southwestern parts of the country, Balochistan government spokesperson Mohammad Jan Buledi said.

Communications systems in the sparsely populated province were badly affected as a result of the earthquake and rescue workers were facing difficulties in reaching survivors in remote areas of the province.

Teams were working to recover bodies, but the priority was to move the injured to hospitals as soon as possible, a difficult task in a desolate area with minimal infrastructure.

Official sources told Dawn that the earthquake had rendered about 21,000 families homeless in the two districts.

They said an area spread over 40,000 square kilometres had been affected and the communications system, especially roads, had been badly damaged.

An earthquake survivor walks on the rubble of a mud house in the town of Awaran, September 27, 2013. — Photo by Reuters
An earthquake survivor walks on the rubble of a mud house in the town of Awaran, September 27, 2013. — Photo by Reuters

Earlier on Thursday, a helicopter carrying chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Major General Alam Saeed, came under rocket attack in the Mashkay tehsil of the province’s Awaran district.

Awaran is considered one of the most sensitive and troubled districts of Balochistan and is also the hometown of Baloch guerrila commander, Dr Allah Nazar Baloch and Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch has already made an appeal to Dr Allah Nazar to cooperate with aid agencies in order to provide support to earthquake survivors.

Balochistan is the country's most impoverished province. The lack of infrastructure such as decent roads has hampered relief efforts. The Pakistani military has been ferrying aid into the region by helicopter and evacuating the injured.

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Comments (11)

September 27, 2013 5:03 pm

1) Why were the helicopters not provided with cover in the form of helicopter gunship? as the ' militants sped away in their vehicles. "There was no loss of life." Does there have to be a loss of life for us to understand how best to manage situations; unfortunately we do not learn even then; specially this has happened for the second time in two days.

2) Appealing to the local leader for understanding and calm during the calamity and not being reciprocated is a clear sign that these so called leaders (Dr Allah Nazar Baloch) are not even sincere with the plight of their own people whom they claim to represent.

September 27, 2013 5:28 pm

Where is the PM? Enjoying his visit to the US. Pakistanis should ask the question of the PM as to what is more important weeks long UNGA gathering or dealing with earth quake issues especially when 359 pakistanis have lost their lives. Shows PM's priorties. Public should remember his behaviour at the next general election.

September 27, 2013 6:32 pm

Two helicopters were fired at , lets stop the relief efforts what a bogus excuse for not helping citizens whoever is firing at the helicopters fire back at them doesn't pakistan has a military

September 27, 2013 6:58 pm

We can see how much the militants care about the people of Balochistan, they try to kill those who are here to help them. They can't do anything themselves but try to kill those who are able to assist, utter stupidity. I hope the local population now see that they do not have their interests at heart, they only want power, by hook or by crook.

Ajukis Rambler
September 27, 2013 7:51 pm

Even when death and destruction dancing in their Province every where with wrath of God stricken in the form of calamity of earthquake, they failed to take lesson and repent and bitting the very hands feeding them.

September 27, 2013 8:44 pm

Te scum of the society (the religious fanatic terrorists) must be eliminated. Pakistan has groomed up too long and are now paying the price for it. These guys are trying to shoot down helicopters which are trying to help people who have lost everything and more. it's time the so called civil society in Pakistan goes after them and removes weapons and shut down their religious school which apart from religion teaches them to make bombs!

September 27, 2013 9:16 pm

These so called militants are a curse to Balochistan and are bent on anarchy and destruction. They have no heart at all and have serious mental issues. Who attacks relief helicopters? I hope and pray that the government and the army destroys these so called Baloch militants who's only job appears to be to encourage destruction, cause mayhem, prevent the development and progress of Baloch people.

September 27, 2013 10:15 pm

Another wake up call from Allah g.

September 27, 2013 10:52 pm

And the complicit BLA is fighting to improve the lives of the Balochistan people. They fire at helicopters who bring in aid to the distressed! Such contradictions should open the minds of the BLA sympathizers.

September 27, 2013 11:13 pm

in hard time like this the people of baluchistan should know who's there enemy

September 28, 2013 12:59 am

When will ordinary Muslims turn on these degenerates?

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