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QUETTA: Armed gunmen on Tuesday shot dead a senior local election official in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, police said, days before parliament is due to dissolve ahead of general elections.

Muhammad Tariq, the Superintendent of Police in Quetta said two armed gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire at the vehicle of Muhammad Ziaullah Qasmi, the District Election Commissioner for Quetta district, in the Munir Mengal road area of the city.

Tariq said Qasmi initially sustained serious wounds, receiving eight bullets to the body.

“Qasmi succumbed to injuries on his way to hospital,” he said.

The driver of the election official was also injured during the attack.

The assailants managed to escape unhurt from the spot.

“The incident seems to be an act of target killing,” said a police official who requested not to be named.

The motive behind the killing could not be ascertained immediately and police were contacting relatives for further details.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the killing, but Balochistan suffers from sectarian violence as well as an insurgency by Baloch nationalists who want greater autonomy for the mineral-rich province.

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