GUJRAT: All nine victims of Friday’s Noshki attack were laid to rest on Sunday in their native areas in central Punjab districts.

The men, hailing from Wazi­rabad, Gujranwala and Mandi Bahauddin, were abducted from a Taftan-bound bus and shot dead by Balochistan Liberation Army gunmen. Their bodies were later dumped under a bridge in a hilly area of Noshki.

The bodies of six victims arrived in Mandi Bahauddin’s village Chak Fateh Shah on Sunday.

The officials of local administration and police received the coffins loaded on Rescue 1122 ambulances at the Salem Interchange of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway.

Funeral of six men held in Mandi Bahauddin

They were buried in a local graveyard after a joint funeral.

The lone survivor, identified as Zahid Imran Butt of Mandi Bahauddin, also reached the village along with the dead bodies.

Visibly devastated, Mr Butt didn’t talk to reporters when they tried to ask him about the attack.

A statement issued by the Mandi Bahauddin district administration said Gujranwala Commissioner Naveed Haider Sheerazi, Mandi Bahauddin Deputy Commissioner Shahid Marth, District Police Officer Raza Kazmi and other officials attended the funeral on the directions of the Punjab chief minister and chief secretary.

Talking to the heirs of the deceased, Commissioner Sheeraz offered condolences on behalf of the Punjab government and condemned the killings.

He said the government was with them in this time of grief.

The body of 17-year-old Wasiq Farooq also arrived in Chora village of Wazirabad district, where he was laid to rest in a local graveyard after funeral prayers.

While a large number of locals attended the funeral, no government official was present.

As per the family sources, all nine victims and a survivor, aged between 17 and 23 years, had valid visas for Iran and Iraq. They intended to travel to Turkiye and enter Europe from there.

The families had initially paid Rs260,000 to a Gujranwala-based agent for the travel arrangements, and the men left their hometowns on April 7. They were identified as Tanzeel Nasir, 20; Muhammad Qasim, 22; Sajid Imran, 23; Abu Bakar, 23; Muzamil Hussain, 22; Mazhar Iqbal, 21; Wasiq, 17; Rana Shahzeb; and Javed Shahzad.

Compensation announced

The Balochistan government has decided to pay compensation to the victims’ families.

The decision was taken on Sun­day in a high-level meeting chai­red by Chief Minister Sarfaraz Bugti.

The chief minister has directed the provincial authorities to ensure the payment of compensation within seven days.

Saleem Shahid in Quetta also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2024

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