Officials of the Mastung administration said over 14 labourers, reportedly Pakhtuns, were working on a road construction project in the Dasht area when they were attacked by unknown armed men.
Seven labourers were killed on the spot, while three others died on the way to hospital, Levies personnel said.
Reports suggest the armed men were riding a motorcycle and reached the site at around 10:15am. They opened fire on the labourers busy in their work. “We were busy in our work on Dasht road when two armed men riding a motorcycle came there and opened fire on us,” said one of the injured labourers, Abdullah Khan, while talking to The News at BMC Hospital.
On being informed, officials of the administration and the Levies force reached the spot and shifted the bodies to the BMC Hospital.
The incident created tension in the provincial capital and a large number of people thronged the hospital. People belonging to different walks of life blocked the city’s main Jinnah road and Brewery Road to protest the target killings. They demanded that the government step down and termed the Dasht incident a failure of the Balochistan government.
Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Aslam Raisani expressed deep grief over the killings of the labourers. In separate condolence messages, the governor directed the concerned authorities to mobilise all resources and apprehend the culprits involved in the incident, while the chief minister directed the authorities to submit a report of the incident.
Office bearers of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) staged a protest demonstration against the killings of the Pakhtun labourers and demanded that the government arrest the killers. PkMAP also called for a shutter down strike in the provincial capital and the Pakhtun dominated areas of Balochistan today (Friday).
Meanwhile, the Anjuman-e-Tajiran Balochistan supported the shutter down strike call of PkMAP and appealed to the traders to shut their business activities as a sign of protest. The ANP, JUI-F and other parties also condemned the killings and demanded the arrest of the culprits.
In another incident, at least five people were killed, including tribal leader, Mir
Saeed Ahmed Qalandarani, in an ambush at a remote area of Khuzdar district of Balochistan.
Media reports said the incident took place in the Totak area in Khuzdar where unknown bike riders intercepted Qalandarani’s vehicle and sprayed it with a volley of bullets, killing him and four of his bodyguards on the spot, before fleeing from the scene. Two bodyguards were also injured in the attack.
Officials said the tribal leader was returning from a local Jirga when his car was ambushed in the remote area as motives behind the murder could not be ascertained.
Mir Saeed Ahmed Qalandarani was son-in-law of Ali Ahmed Qalandarani, an influential tribal figure of the province. The dead and injured were shifted to Quetta’s Bolan Medical Complex.