File photo shows paramilitary soldiers patrolling in Quetta, the capital of violence-hit Balochistan province.—File Photo

QUETTA: Gunmen on motorcycles on Saturday shot dead eight men at a laundry in the restive southwestern city of Quetta, police said.

The gunmen were riding two motorcycles when they struck at the laundry in a busy area of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, before fleeing, they said.

“At least eight men were killed and another man was wounded,” senior police official Iskandar Tareen told AFP.

Initial investigations indicated that the victims were “settlers,” he said, referring to people who have settled in Balochistan but come from other provinces of Pakistan.

Police officer Salim Shahwani told Reuters that the victims were from Punjab province and were inside the laundry at the time of the attack.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but Balochistan suffers from ethnic tensions, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims and a separatist insurgency which also targets non-natives.

Small separatist groups in impoverished Balochistan often target Pakistanis from other parts of the country. The separatists want autonomy and a greater share of the money derived from the province’s natural resources like gas and oil.

Updated Jun 23, 2012 11:47am

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