A Pakistan Army soldier was martyred after terrorists opened fire on security forces during an operation in Balochistan's Ziarat district to recover a civilian taken hostage, the military's media affairs wing said on Friday.

The civilian, Omer Javed, was abducted along with his cousin, Lt Col Laiq Baig Mirza, near Warchoom, Ziarat, as they were returning after paying a visit to the Quaid's residency. Lt Col Mirza was martyred by the terrorists as they were fleeing from security forces.

In a statement on Friday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that a terrorist hideout was identified and cleared by security forces during the ongoing recovery operation.

"On the night of July 14/15, a terrorist hideout was identified and cleared by security forces near Khost in the Khalifat Mountains. Once encircled, the terrorists opened fire on the closing-in troops," the statement said.

As a result, Havaldar Khan Mohammad was martyred. Five terrorists belonging to the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were also killed in the ensuing heavy exchange of fire, the ISPR added.

"The sanitisation operation, however, will continue in the area to apprehend the remaining perpetrators and recover Omer Javed," the ISPR said.

Army official abducted, martyred

On Thursday, the ISPR said that after receiving information about the abduction, Army Quick Reaction Forces were immediately despatched to chase the fleeing terrorists who were traced moving to their hideouts in the general area of the Mangi Dam.

A search operation was launched by security forces using Special Services Group (SSG) troops and helicopters to locate the abductees and the terrorists.

"Resultantly, on the night between July 13 and July 14, a group of six to eight terrorists was spotted moving in a nullah in nearby mountains by one of the teams of security forces. On sensing their possible encirclement, terrorists shot Lt Col Mirza and attempted to flee," the statement added.

An exchange of fire ensued, resulting in the killing of two terrorists. The forces also recovered a cache of improvised explosive devices and ammunition. However, in the process, the remaining terrorists managed to flee from the scene with Omer.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had expressed grief at the martyrdom of Lt Col Mirza.

"Our law enforcement agencies will hunt down all those who perpetrated this heinous crime and bring them to justice," the premier said.

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