At least ten labourers were killed and two others injured on Saturday as unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at labourers working in Gwadar, Balochistan.
According to Levies sources, unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on the labourers working at a road in Gwadar’s Pishgan area, killing eight labourers on the spot. Two of the injured labourers died when they were being rushed to District Headquarters Hospital, they added.
“All the labourers were shot at close range,” said senior levies official Muhammad Zareef.
Local administration official Munir Zamari told agencies there were two gunmen riding on motorbikes who opened fire on the construction workers at the site. The assailants attacked the men at two separate construction sites three kilometres apart along the same road. They fled the scene afterwards.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti also confirmed the death toll while speaking to a private news channel. He said, while condemning the incident, “We will not bow down before terrorists.” Bugti termed the incident an attack on Pakistanis, saying the perpetrators will be brought to book.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives.
The victims belong to Noushero Feroz, Sindh, said Gwadar Deputy Commissioner Naeem Bazai, adding they were working in Balochistan on one month contract.
The slain labourers belonged to Sindh’s Naushahro Feroze district. Their remains will be handed over to their family members later in the day.
Ganz is a desolate coastal village on the Makran coast, around 50 kilometres from Gwadar.
Sources added that the site of the incident has been cordoned off by security forces and a sweeping operation is under way.
Some of the victims have been identified as Muhammad Khan, Ali Dost, Shahband, Abdul Hakeem, Rasool Bakhsh, Abdul Waheed, Zaheer Ahmed, Muhammad Sadam and Muhammad Asif died while two other received wounds.
A special military C-130 aircraft flew the remains of the slain labourers after funeral prayers to their hometown in Naushahro Feroze district.
A spokesman for the separatist Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the incident in a telephone call to AFP.
Militants trying to disrupt the CPEC project have killed more than 44 workers since 2014.
The incident came as Pakistan and China inked various infrastructure agreements, including on setting up ports and for further developing Gwadar port, ahead of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) forum that begins on Sunday.
In the past, armed militants attacked a labourers camp in Turbat on April 11, 2015, killing 20 labourers. The defunct Baloch separatist organisation Baloch Liberation Front had claimed the responsibility for the attack. In a similar incident in April this year, four Sindhi labourers were gunned down by suspected militants while working on a road that was under construction in Kharan district.
PM STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACK IN PISHGAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the indiscriminate firing incident in Pishgan and expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious human lives.
While directing the relevant authorities at the federal and provincial levels to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to the task, the prime minister said all efforts would be made to maintain peace in the province at all cost.
“We will ensure all necessary measures to fully realise our dream of a developed and prosperous Balochistan Insha’ Allah,” PM Office media wing’s press release quoted the prime minister as saying.
The prime minister prayed for the eternal peace of departed souls and grant of courage to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemned the attack on labourers in Gawadar. In a press statement, the PPP chairman said terrorism was not acceptable in any form or colour, and those taking guns against fellow citizens are unpardonable.