QUETTA / DERA MURAD JAMALI: An Awami National Party (ANP) leader and his brother were among four people killed in bomb and landmine explosions in parts of Balochistan on Friday. Six other people were injured.
The Lahore-bound Akbar Bugti Express was targeted with a remote-controlled device in the Mach area of Bolan district, while another remote-controlled bomb planted along the Harnai Shahrag Road exploded while the ANP leader was passing through the area.
Separately two landmines went off in the Chatter area of Nasirabad district killing passers-by.
The train service to Quetta and the rest of the country was suspended for hours and Quetta-bound trains were stopped at various railway stations.
Levies officials said ANP leader Abdul Razzaq was on his way to Pishin with his brother Abdul Khaliq to attend a public meeting called by party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan. The two brothers were travelling on the Harnai Shahrag Road when the powerful blast ripped through their pick-up vehicle, killing them on the spot. The vehicle was destroyed.
A police officer said, “It was an explosive device planted on the roadside and detonated with a remote control.”
Harnai Deputy Commissioner Abdul Salam Achakzai said, “It took place when the vehicle reached Harnai Shahrag Road.”
However, law enforcement agencies believe that the bomb may have been attached to the vehicle the victims were travelling in.
No group claimed responsibility for the blast.
Police said the first landmine exploded in Goth Gola Wah after a bullock-cart hit the mine planted alongside the road. “A man identified as Yaro Machi was blown up along with his cart...he died on the spot,” officials confirmed, adding that another man identified as Bhagia Khan, who was a passenger on the cart, was seriously injured. He was taken to Dera Murad Jamali Hospital.
A young shepherd, who was passing through Goth Hadi along with his goats and sheep, stepped on the landmine, causing the blast. The shepherd identified as Bagar Jaat died on the spot.
Six passengers on the Akbar Bugti Express were seriously injured after a bomb planted on the railway track exploded near Mach.
Security forces found two more explosive devices along the railway track in the same area, which were defused by the bomb disposal squad.
“Carriage 9 of the train was damaged in the blast,” a Pakistan Railways spokesperson said, adding that security forces had cordoned off the site and shifted the injured to a health facility.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri condemned the attack, along with Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti and Education Minister Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal who visited the blast site in Harnai.
“We will not step back from our fight against the menace of terrorism... And the culprits behind the murder of the ANP leader will be brought to justice,” said Sarfaraz Bugti after meeting the bereaved family in Shahrag.
Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2017