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QUETTA, March 5: A former provincial minister and sitting member of Balochistan assembly, Sultan Khan Tareen, was kidnapped by gunmen from an area near Kuchlak on Tuesday.

Police sources said that Mr Tareen, who belongs to the Awami National Party (ANP), was going to Harnai in his car early on Tuesday morning. His driver was driving the vehicle.

His car was intercepted by a group of armed men when it reached near Bostan area of Kuchlak. The gunmen, who had blocked the road, dragged the ANP leader and his driver out of the car and whisked them away.

However, the sources said, after half an hour the kidnappers set Mr Tareen’s driver free who informed Kuchlak police about the incident.

He told police officers that three vehicles had blocked the main road linking Quetta with Chaman and Pishin.

The police immediately began a search operation in the area. However, police efforts remained futile till late in the evening.

“We are making efforts to trace the whereabouts of the legislator,” a senior police officer said, adding that some suspects had been picked up for questioning.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Quoting family members, ANP sources said no one had yet contacted them either to claim responsibility of the kidnapping or demand ransom. Meanwhile, local chapter of the ANP and the Pakhtun Students Federation (PkSF) have condemned the kidnapping and expressed disappointment over the government’s failure in protecting people.

ANP’s provincial vice-president Haji Abdul Kakar and PkSF’s provincial president Zubair Shah addressed a workers’ meeting at the Bacha Khan Markaz and demanded of the government to immediately recover Mr Tareen.

They said the government and law enforcement agencies had failed in upholding the supremacy of law. The government, they argued, had remained unsuccessful in controlling growing lawlessness in the province while the lacklustre attitude of law enforcement agencies was encouraging criminals to widen their activities.