QUETTA: Four members of a Hazara Shia family, inc­luding a woman, were gunned down and a man was injured in an attack on the Quetta-Karachi National Highway near Mastung on Wednesday.

The family, going to Karachi from Quetta in a rented car, was attacked by armed men on motorcycles in the Killi Choto area.

Security forces launched a search operation in the area after the incident and detained over a dozen people for interrogation.

According to police, the four people, including the driver, were killed on the spot after the attackers opened fire on the car early in the morning.

Murtaza Ali, Ghulam Sarwar, Muhammad Asif and Rukhsana Bibi of Hazara Town, Quetta, died in the attack.

A man belonging to Sindh, who was in the front seat of the car, was injured.

“Armed men targeted the passengers of the car when the driver reduced its speed over a speed breaker,” Mastung District Police Officer Syed Muhammad Ghazanfar Ali told Dawn.

“They opened fire from the front of the car and after the vehicle stopped they fired volley of bullets from its both sides with automatic weapons,” he said, adding that the attackers escaped on motorbikes.

Police, Levies and Frontier Corps personnel cordoned off the area and took the bodies and the injured to the Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Mem­o­rial Hospital in Mastung.

The injured man, Abdul Sattar, was later brought to the Trauma Centre in Quetta.

The bodies were also brought to Quetta and handed over to the heirs after the completion of medico-legal formalities.

“It is an incident of sectarian killing,” a senior police officer said.

“We have taken a dozen suspects into custody for interrogation,” the DPO said of the search operation launched in nearby villages.

Quoting witnesses, the official said three attackers were involved in the incident.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti condemned the targeted killing.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2017