Thirteen security personnel and seven private guards were martyred in two separate attacks in Balochistan's Gwadar district and the North Waziristan tribal district on Thursday, the military's media wing said.
In the first incident, seven soldiers of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan and seven security guards were martyred in an 'encounter' with a "large number of terrorists" while escorting a convoy of state-run Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd (OGDCL) on the Makran Coastal Highway in Ormara, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said. The convoy was on its way to Karachi from Gwadar when it came under attack.
"Security forces responded effectively, ensured security of the OGDCL persons and managed their safe exit from the area," the press release said, adding that "substantial losses were also incurred to the terrorists" during the clash.
According to the ISPR, security forces have cordoned off the entire area and a search was underway for the militants involved in the attack.
"Such cowardly acts by inimical elements to sabotage peace, stability and economic development in Balochistan shall never be allowed to succeed," the statement said. "These acts can not subdue [the] resolve of our forces which are determined to defend [the] motherland, even at the cost of their lives."
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The martyred FC personnel were identified by the ISPR as Subedar Abid Hussain, Naik Muhammad Anwar, Lance Naik Iftikhar Ahmed, Sepoy Muhammad Naveed, Lance Naik Abdul Latif, Sepoy Muhammad Waris and Sepoy Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, the martyred private security guards, who were accompanying the convoy, were identified as Havaldar (retired) Samandar Khan, Muhammad Fawadullah, Attaullah, Waris Khan, Abdul Nafay, Shakirullah and Abid Hussain.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a statement condemned the attack on the OGDCL convoy and sought a report into the incident, Radio Pakistan reported.
The premier expressed grief with the families of the martyred personnel of security agencies.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani in a tweet said the attack on law-enforcement personnel was "a clear sign the enemy does not want Balochistan and its people to prosper".
Commenting on the incident, Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi said "while Pakistan is fast achieving peace & CPEC [is] transforming Pakistan into [a] vibrant economy, India-backed terrorists are making last-ditch effort to destabilise peace and development in Balochistan."
"Terrorism can't raise its head and enemy would fail again," he added.
Balochistan is key to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Beijing's regional Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
The corridor seeks to connect China's western province of Xinjiang with Gwadar, giving Beijing access to the Arabian Sea.
Last year in April, at least 14 people, including 11 personnel of Navy, Air Force and Coast Guards, were killed by gunmen after they were picked out with the help of their computerised national identity cards (CNICs) and offloaded from seven buses in the Buzi Pass area near Ormara.
The incident had taken place on the Makran Coastal Highway linking Karachi with the port city of Gwadar. The buses were going to Gwadar from Karachi.
An alliance of three banned militant organisations — the Balochistan Liberation Front, Balochistan Republican Army and Baloch Republican Guard — had claimed responsibility for the killings.
IED attack in NW
In the second incident, six Pakistan Army personnel were martyred in a "terrorist" bomb attack near Razmak area of North Waziristan, the military's media wing said earlier in the day.
It said a convoy of security forces was attacked through an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in the martyrdom of one officer and five soldiers.
The martyred personnel were identified by the ISPR as Capt Umar Farooq, aged 24 years; Naib Subedar Riaz Ahmed, aged 37 years; Naib Subedar Shakeel Azad, aged 44; Havaldar Younas Khan, 36; Naik Muhammad Nadeem, 37; and Lance Naik Asmat Ullah, aged 30 years.
'Encounters' between security forces and militants have frequently been taking place in North Waziristan. Security forces have killed several suspected hardcore terrorists in recent clashes.
Also read: Regional militant sanctuaries
The latest incident comes four days after two soldiers were martyred and three others sustained injuries in an attack on a security post in Shawal valley of North Waziristan.
Officials said militants attacked the post in the Manra Mendara area adjacent to South Waziristan district. They said militants fired rockets in the pre-dawn attack on the post which left two soldiers martyred and three others wounded.
Last month, security forces had killed four terrorists, including militant commander Ihsanullah alias Ihsan Sanray, in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in what was termed as a "major breakthrough" by the ISPR.
The operation was carried out in Ghariom, Shaktu, near the inter-district boundary of North and South Waziristan.
That IBO had come days after wanted terrorist Waseem Zakeria was killed during an intelligence operation in North Waziristan along with four accomplices.
Ten notorious terrorists were also arrested during the operation near Mirali, the ISPR had said at the time. It said Zakeria was the mastermind of 30 attacks, including the targeted killing of government officials and security forces personnel.
Zakeria was also believed to be involved in the assassination of Zubaidullah Khan, a CSP officer of the Federal Information Group, posted as director of the Pakistan Housing Authority in Islamabad.
The killing of the senior civil officer in Mirali had raised concerns about the state of security in once-volatile North Waziristan which has seen an uptick in attacks on security forces since the Zarb-i-Azb operation in June 2014.
A lawmaker from the tribal district had told the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in September that 200 people had lost their lives to targeted killings since February 2018. There was, however, no official corroboration or denial of the claim by the lawmaker.