QUETTA, Nov 21: Baloch leader Nawabzada Balach Marri was killed along with his bodyguards in a clash somewhere inside Afghanistan on Wednesday, triggering widespread violence in Quetta and some other parts of Balochistan.
Two policemen and three others were killed in incidents of firing, bomb explosions and armed attacks while several government vehicles, offices and shops were set on fire.
Three people were killed on Kalat Street when unknown armed men opened fire.
Late in the night, the government called out the Balochistan Constabulary and ordered the closure of all educational institutions.
Nawabzada Gazeen Marri, the elder brother of Balach Marri, confirmed his death. “Nawabzada Balach Marri was killed in a clash with security forces,” he said while talking to the BBC.
However, Gazeen Marri refused to name the place where he was killed. “ I cannot disclose the place where the incident took place in view of the safety of other colleagues.”
He said only members of his family could decide about the burial of Mir Balach Marri, as “we do not want his body to be disgraced the way the rulers treated that of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti”.
Beeburg Baloch, a spokesman for the defunct Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), called newsmen in Quetta by satellite phone from an unknown place to inform them about the nationalist leader’s death.
He said two other Baloch leaders had also lost their lives in the clash. However, some other reports suggested that besides Balach Marri, seven of his security guards and six other people were killed in the incident.
‘AIR STRIKE’: Other sources suggested Balach Marri was killed in an air strike by NATO forces in Gramshar area of Afghanistan’s Helmand province. They believed the Western forces had mistaken Mr Marri and his entourage for Taliban fighters.
The sources said Kabul had informed Islamabad about the incident.
Nawabzada Balach Marri, who was the youngest son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, had sought refuge in Afghanistan following the crackdown in the Marri and Bugti areas after the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti last year.
He had been elected member of the Balochistan Assembly from his home constituency of Kohlu in the 2002 general election. He never attended assembly proceedings after the opening session.
Balach Marri was thought to be the chief of the defunct Baloch Liberation Army.
Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri himself had gone to Afghanistan and stayed there for years after he was released from the Hyderabad prison in 1977.
He was jailed with 53 others, Khan Abdul Wali Khan and Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo among them, by the Bhutto government on charges of sedition.
VIOLENCE: Three people were killed in Quetta’s Huda area late on Wednesday night after unknown armed men riding a motorbike opened fire on them.
In another incident, a group of armed men opened fire on a police van on the Brewery road, killing a constable and injuring three other policemen.
Two policemen were injured after a bomb went off near Wapda’s grid station in Sariab.
Arsonists torched an ambulance of the Bolan Medical Complex and a building formerly housing a government organisation in Killi Shabo.Students staying in the university hostel took to the streets late on Wednesday night, pelting vehicles with stones and torching two of them.
Two troops of the Frontier Corps were injured when a hand grenade was thrown at their vehicle in the Sariab area.
An office of the Punjabi Ittehad was set on fire on Query road.
In Turbat, angry mobs ransacked shops and also set on fore an office of the livestock department.
Niaz Zehri, a government official, suffered injuries when a mob attacked him in Khuzdar. They also torched his car. Two powerful explosions damaged telephone lines in Mastung.
Train services between Quetta and the rest of the country were suspended after a track was blown up near Sibi.