Gunmen kill 20 bus passengers in Pakistan attack

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QUETTA: Gunmen disguised as members of the Pakistani security forces killed at least 20 passengers after forcing them off buses travelling from the western city of Quetta to Karachi on the southern coast, officials said.

The assault in the restive province of Baluchistan occurred in the town of Mastung yesterday, around 40 km south of Quetta.”

Fifteen to 20 armed men in three pickup trucks and wearing security uniforms kidnapped around 35 passengers,” Sarfaraz Bugti, Baluchistan’s home minister, told Reuters.

He said the bodies of 20 passengers were later found around two km away from the main Quetta-Karachi highway in nearby foothills.

In a grisly execution-style attack, twenty passengers were lined up and shot dead by unidentified gunmen after being pulled off two buses in Mastung district.

Coming from the Pashtun-dominated area of Pishin, the two Karachi-bound buses were intercepted and stopped in Gidrang near Mastung district’s Kadocha area by as many as 40 gunmen around 9:00pm, according to security forces.

“At least 25 passengers were forced off the buses at gunpoint,” a senior home department official said.

 “None of them [the victims] were settlers or Shia,” Durrani said.

His statement was confirmed later by Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti who said all of the victims were ‘Pashtun’.

No group has yet  claimed responsibility for the attack but Baluch separatists have been fighting for an independent Baluchistan, of which Quetta is the capital, for more than a decade.

They are demanding an end to what they see as the exploitation of their resources by people from other parts of Pakistan.

Islamist militants also regularly target civilians and the security forces, and earlier this month at least Shia 43 commuters were killed on a bus in Karachi by a group that has declared allegiance to Islamic State.

Mastung attack will be a major concern for the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, because it raises further questions about the feasibility of a major new economic corridor Pakistan wants to build with billions of dollars of Chinese investment.

The much-vaunted project, announced when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April, envisages an eastern and western route, with the latter passing from Gwadar port in the south through Quetta and beyond.

Militant blows himself up in cricket stadium

A police personnel was killed and six others injured when a suspect blew himself up outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore where the second international cricket match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe was held last night.

The police personnel on duty stopped a suspect from entering the stadium who blew himself upkilling a cop, according to a report published in The News.

However, the match continued uninterrupted as the Pakistan Broadcaster Association had earlier decided not to make public any information which could possibly lead to stampede-like situation during the match.

A terror attack in 2009, during the Sri Lankan cricket team’s visit had led to international cricket teams refusing to play on Pakistan grounds.

It is after six long years that a cricket team is visiting the country.

 

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