QUETTA, Aug 27: Three people were killed and over 50 others injured and a curfew was imposed on Nushki town as riots erupted in various parts of Balochistan on Sunday in protest against the killing of Jamhoori Watan Party chief Nawab Akbar Bugti.
At least 45 vehicles, scores of shops, banks and government buildings were ransacked or set on fire. Hundreds of rioters were taken into custody.
In the evening, a curfew was imposed on Quetta for an indefinite period and heavy contingents of police and Frontier Corps personnel were deployed in different areas.
Later, Quetta District Nazim Mir Maqbool Ahmed Lehri lifted the curfew and said more troops were being deployed to curb unrest.
He also announced that educational institutions would remain closed in Quetta for three days.
“Police have arrested around 600 protesters in Quetta on charges of attacking government buildings and vehicles,” said a senior police official.
He said 12 police personnel, including four officers, were injured in clashes with protesters.
Quetta remained cut off from the rest of the country. Protesters blocked the three main highways — Quetta-Karachi, Quetta-Sukkur and Quetta-Dera Ghazi Khan Road. All Quetta-bound flights coming from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad were cancelled. Passenger trains coming to Quetta from different parts of the country were stopped at Sibi and no train left Quetta for any destination as Pakistan Railways had suspended the service.
Workers of various political parties and student organisations had started rioting in the Sariab area soon after the confirmation of Akbar Bugti’s death on Saturday night0.
They lit bonfire and blocked the Sariab Road, the centre of the violence. Two bank branches and several vehicles were set on fire in the area.
A group of students smashed the door and windows of the offices of the warden of Balochistan University’s hostel. They entered the varsity garage and set on fire 16 buses.
“The whole fleet of the university buses has been destroyed,” said a varsity official.
A young passer-by, identified as Ghous Bakhsh, was killed in the shooting which started after police had fired tear-gas shells to disperse protesters who were ransacking the offices of an estate agent in Shahbaz Town.
Hospital sources said Ghous had suffered bullet injuries in his head.
By noon, violence had spread into other areas of the city in which three more banks — one each in Satellite Town and on Sariab Road and Brewery Road — were set alight.
Armed men opened fire on a van of Airport Port police station, injuring DSP Farooq Faiz, Inspector Abdullah Khan Afridi, Inspector Qasim Ishaqzai and ASI Abid Bukhari. They were admitted to the CMH.
Two utility stores in Wahdat Colony and Hudda, a post office and a barber shop were set on fire on Jail Road.
A youngster, Kamran, was killed in an exchange of fire that took place on the Arbab Karam Khan Road where protesters had attacked a utility store.
Kamran’s family said it was a targeted killing, holding a police officer responsible for the youth’s death.
Police constable Haq Nawaz was killed after unidentified people opened fire at him when he was going to the Sariab police station in the evening.
Sabir Ali, a cameraman of a private TV channel, was beaten up by protesters who snatched his camera and cellphone in the Sariab area.
In Khuzdar, six banks, the offices of the House Building Finance Corporation, over 24 shops and several vehicles were set afire.
Ten people were injured in Khuzdar and incidents of firing between police and protesters were reported from the town.
In Nushki, the administration imposed a curfew after protesters had attacked a Frontier Corps checkpost and set it on fire.
The protesters attacked almost all government buildings and blocked the Quetta-Taftan Highway causing suspension of traffic between Pakistan and Iran.
Two bombs were exploded in Kalat. A device was planted in the building of Nadra that went off, destroying its offices. A hand grenade was hurled into the T&T offices, damaging the telephone exchange.
The district offices of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League were set on fire in coastal towns of Pasni and Gwadar. A police post also came under attack in Gwadar.
Several shops in Pasni, Turbat and Mand were attacked and set alight.
In the border town of Mand, a customs office and a hostel were ransacked.
Reports of violent protests were also received from Panjgur, Sibi, Mastung, Dera Murad Jamali, Usta Mohammad, Dera Allahyar and the industrial town of Hub.
Baloch tribesmen also protested in many cities of Sindh, including Larkana, Sukkur, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kambar and Shahdadkot.
Demonstrations were also held in Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab.