Deputy Collector Customs Quetta Dr Abdul Quddus Sheikh, who was severely beaten up by suspected smugglers earlier this week, passed away on Tuesday morning at a hospital in Karachi.
Dr Sheikh was attacked at Gahi Khan Chowk when he was returning home after seizing smuggled goods during an operation in the Kolpur area of Quetta.
According to customs officials, unidentified men had stopped his car at gunpoint, beat him up severely and fled. They had said that action against the attackers had been initiated after registration of an FIR as they had challenged the writ of the state.
Police have arrested three individuals in connection with the incident, police sources told DawnNewsTV.
A statement issued by the Customs Department on the demise of the official said: "This was not the first attack on customs officials engaged in anti-smuggling operations [...] in the last three years, 10 officers/officials have lost their lives and dozens injured.
"Besides the fatalities, there have been notable instances of staff being kidnapped, especially in Balochistan and KP provinces, to browbeat the Customs Department into submission," the statement added.
Following the attack, the deputy commissioner of Islamabad had taken to Twitter to share that Dr Sheikh was in critical condition after being severely beaten by a gang of smugglers on Saryab Road. He added that the customs official was in a coma with ruptured lungs and a broken jaw.
Dr Sheikh was initially shifted to the trauma centre in Quetta. He was flown to Karachi on a chartered plane last night, where he passed away.
According to sources, the preventative working strength of the entire customs in Balochistan is below 500, with just 25 operational vehicles. Lack of resources and manpower had been a major issue facing the anti-smuggling department, though it had increased efforts against the smuggling of goods into or out of Balochistan.