QUETTA – Security forces killed three militants at the start of a crackdown on sectarian militant group in Balochistan, officials said on Thursday, following a spate of attacks targeting security forces.
The extremist Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), whose roots are in Punjab, claimed responsibility for gunning down four policemen on Tuesday and four soldiers of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Quetta on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps said the government had decided to launch an armed operation against LeJ at a late-night meeting on Wednesday.
“Three terrorists belonging to LeJ have been killed in an armed clash with Frontier Corps and intelligence personnel,” said Khan Wasey, the spokesman for the paramilitary force.
He said the killings took place during a search operation in the early hours of Thursday.
Last year, police killed the leader of the LeJ, Malik Ishaq, signalling a shift in the government’s strategy for dealing with the group.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sananullah Zehri condemned the killing of the policemen and soldiers and said “strict actions would be launched against terrorists and their supporters”.
Nawab Zehri directed the chief secretary to install 1,400 CCTV cameras in Quetta. He also asked to install scanners at all entry and exit points of the city.
The chief minister also issued directions to accelerate the pace of work on the Quetta Safe City Project in order to combat terrorism.
In further action, the law-enforcement agencies personnel arrested 150 suspects and confiscated 60 motorcycles during operations in different areas of the provincial capital Quetta.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Manzoor Sarwar said that police and FC personnel conducted joint search operations and snap-checking of vehicles at Sariab Road, Satellite Town, Kechi Baig areas of Quetta.
He said that during search operations and snap-checking, the LEAs personnel arrested 150 suspects and confiscated 60 motorcycles.
The nabbed suspects were being interrogated at respective police stations after registering cases against them, he added.
Meanwhile, a police official was injured by unidentified men in Quetta’s Killi Baro area.
The police said that the Head Moharrar of Police Station Kechi Baig came under attack in Killi Baro area lying within jurisdiction of PS New Sariab when he was on his way.
As a result of firing, the police official was injured, they said, adding that the assailants managed to escape from the scene. The injured was rushed to hospital for medical treatment. According to doctors, the injured was in serious condition.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility as the officials said that they would not comment on who might be behind the killing.
The law-enforcement agencies have cordoned off the entire area to trace the suspects. Further probe was underway.
FOUR ROCKETS FIRED AT KALAT SECURITY CHECKPOST
Four rockets were fired on Thursday at a security checkpost in Kalat. The rockets were fired by unknown men, Levies sources confirmed.
No casualties were reported.
After the attack, Levies and FC launched a search operation against the culprits but no arrests could be made.
TRIBAL LEADER INJURED IN BLAST
A tribal leader was injured when a roadside bomb exploded near his car in Kohlu district of Balochistan on Thursday.
According to a private news channel, Gehram Mari survived the bomb attack with minor injuries, rescue sources said.
Balochistan is the country’s poorest and least developed province and has suffered a long-running violence.
Pakistan and China are developing multi-billion-dollar energy and infrastructure projects in the sparsely populated region as part of a plan to create a corridor stretching from the Arabian Sea to China’s Xinjiang region.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 01-Jul-2016