• Personnel were returning from duties at ‘Sibi Mela’
• Eyewitness says blast site littered with toys meant for victims’ children
• Interior minister vows not to cut funding for law enforcement
QUETTA: At least nine personnel of the Balochistan Constabulary embraced martyrdom and 13 others were injured on Monday after a suicide bomber riding an explosives-laden motorbike struck a police truck on the Sukkur-Quetta Highway in the Bolan district — about 120km from Quetta.
According to officials, the personnel were on their way back to Quetta after performing duties at the annual ‘Sibi Mela’ when the truck was targeted in the Dhadar area.
The impact of the powerful blast, which destroyed the vehicle, killed nine officials on the spot and left the rest wounded. Senior police officer Mehmood Khan Notezai confirmed the suicide attack, while the Tehreek Jihad Pakistan (TJP), an unknown militant outfit, claimed responsibility for it.
According to AFP, the militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the suicide blast.
Following the attack, police and Frontier Corps rushed to the site near Landi Khosa village along with rescue teams and shifted the injured to the district hospital. Health Secretary Saleh Muhammad Nasar declared an emergency in nearby hospitals and trauma centre in Quetta.
“We have received nine bodies and 13 injured in the hospital,” a senior official of the district hospital Dhadar said. He added that at least four officials were critically injured. Later, a helicopter of the Balochistan government airlifted the injured to the Combined Military Hospital in Quetta. CM Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and Home Minster Zia Langove visited the CMH and inquired about the health of the injured personnel.
Toys litter blast site
According to an eyewitness, dolls and other toys bought by the martyred and injured policemen for their children from the Sibi festival littered the scene of the bombing.
The deceased include two brothers traveling in the police truck along with their father, who received injuries. Muhammad Hayat, ASI Gul Badeen, ASI Rawat Khan, Samiullah, Shahzed Ahmed, Ali Dolat, Nazir Muhammad, Abdul Qayyum, and Zohar Ali embraced martyrdom, while the injured included Ghulam Qadir, Attaullah, Abdul Haq, Rustam Ali, Muhammad Ilyas, Ghulam Muhammad, Ibrahim Khan, Muhammad Yaqoob, and Saleem Javed.
The funeral prayers of the slain police personnel were offered at Police Lines in Dhadar. Corps Commander Lt Gen Asif Ghafoor, Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Inspector General police Abdul Khaliq Sheikh, IG Frontier Corps North Major General Chaudhary Amir Ajmal, Balochistan Constabulary Commander Sulman Chaudhry, and a large number of police officers attended the funeral prayers.
‘No cuts in LEAs funding’
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the blast and termed it an attempt to create instability in the country. He claimed terrorism in Balochistan was part of a “nefarious design to create instability in the country” and promised to free the country from the menace of terrorism.
On the other hand, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said the government would provide all resources to provinces for maintaining law and order and to root out the menace of terrorism through effective measures, according to APP.
Addressing a press conference, he said there would be no cut in the resources of the provincial governments and the Centre would fulfill the requirements of the law enforcement agencies to combat terrorism. Though the economic condition is very tough and austerity measures are being taken, the government would not compromise on the needs of law enforcement agencies, he said, adding that all resources would be provided to the law enforcers as per directions of the prime minister.
The minister said that the entire nation was standing with the brave and courageous law enforcers who were even sacrificing their lives to eliminate terrorism.
Ali Jan Mangi in Nasirabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2023
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