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Tribesmen held for laying mines

Published Mar 11, 2006 12:00am

ISLAMABAD, March 10: Security personnel have arrested several tribesmen for their alleged involvement in laying mines in strife-hit areas of Balochistan, a senior official of the interior ministry told Dawn on Friday.

The official said that all those detained were members of the Bugti tribe.

Now that outlaws’ camps have been dismantled by security forces and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti has fled the area, he said, “followers of the tribal chieftain” were planting landmines to further their anti-state agenda.

In response to a question about Nawab Bugti, the official said that although the leader of the tribe had escaped, security forces were trying to find out where he had taken shelter.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao described Friday’s landmine explosion in Balochistan as a “highly condemnable act”. Mr Sherpao said an investigation into the incident was already under way and vowed that the culprits would be hunted down and punished according to the law.

“Today’s incident underlines the fact that the terrorist elements behind such despicable activities have no sympathy with the innocent people and are always ready to cause harm and serve their own ulterior motives,” he said.

The minister said the blast was another reminder that these terrorists were out to subvert peace and development in the province for which the government had allocated huge funds.

He said: “I would like to reiterate the government’s resolve to apprehend and bring to justice these anti-people elements who try to deceive people under the guise of a political struggle.”

“Their sole aim is to destabilise the province at the behest of their foreign instigators to undermine national unity and keep the province mired in poverty and backwardness,” he added.

Mr Sherpao said such incidents should also serve as an eye-opener for vested interests who try to legitimise the anti-state and anti-development activities of certain tribal chieftains and their armed loyalists by spreading misplaced and unfounded notions that the government was using unjustified force in Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts.

“Such cowardly acts will not weaken the resolve of the government and action against the miscreants will continue unabated till its logical end,” he said.

The minister said there should be no dialogue with saboteurs and their political masters.