Captain among five soldiers martyred as terror hits Balochistan

Seven blasts hit province — three in Quetta, two in Turtbat, and one each in Hub and Kohlu — as country battles fresh wave of terrorism

By
Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
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Nausheen Yusuf
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Salman Ashraf
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Zarmeen Zehra

Security personnel of Frontier Corps stand guard in a bunker near the Badini Trade Terminal Gateway, a border crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan, at the border town of Qila Saifullah in Balochistan on September 16, 2020. — AFP
Security personnel of Frontier Corps stand guard in a bunker near the Badini Trade Terminal Gateway, a border crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan, at the border town of Qila Saifullah in Balochistan on September 16, 2020. — AFP

  • In latest strikes, seven blasts hit Balochistan.
  • Three in Quetta, two in Turtbat, one each Kohlu, Hub.
  • Pakistan Army vows to battle terrorism.


QUETTA: Five soldiers were martyred and more than a dozen others injured as seven separate blasts ripped through Balochistan — three in Quetta, two in Turtbat, and one each in Hub and Kohlu district — officials said on Sunday as the nation battles rising terrorism.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that during an intelligence-based clearance operation — which is underway since December 24 — an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near a "leading party" in Kohlu district's Kahan area.

As a result, five soldiers — Captain Fahad, Lance Naik Imtiaz, Sepoy Asghar, Sepoy Mehran and Sepoy Shamoon — embraced martyrdom, the military's media wing said.

The soldiers who were injured in the IED blast in Kohlu districts Kahan area on December 25, 2022. — ISPR
The soldiers who were injured in the IED blast in Kohlu district's Kahan area on December 25, 2022. — ISPR

Describing the incident as an "externally perpetrated threat of terrorism", the ISPR said that "such cowardly acts by inimical elements cannot sabotage the hard-earned peace and prosperity in Balochistan".

The military's media wing said that the security forces remain determined to challenge their nefarious designs, "even at the cost of blood and lives".

Following the incident, according to the ISPR, a sanitisation operation was launched in the area to apprehend perpetrators.

Subsequently, today evening, unidentified men threw a grenade at a police checkpost in Quetta's Satellite Town, injuring eight — three on-duty men and five citizens — police said.

Hours before this incident, a grenade blast across the Shaheed Ameer Dasti police station at Sabzal Road in Quetta left four people injured including a woman and a little girl, the police said.

The bomb disposal squad was called in to the site of the blast after reports of another grenade at the site, according to the law enforcers.

The Quetta police added that two hand grenades were thrown on the road of which one exploded while the other was defused.

The police said they were determining the nature of the blast. The injured were shifted to the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital in the city, the law enforcers added.

In another incident that occurred in the evening, a blast went off near Turbat's Taleemi Chowk area, the police said, however, no loss of life was reported.

The security forces have cordoned off the effective areas and further investigations are underway.

Another grenade blast took place within the premises of Hub's Sadar Police Station, injuring three people, police said. The rescue sources said the injured people were to the city's civil hospital.

In the sixth attack, a hand grenade exploded at Saryab Road in Quetta's Musa Colony. Fortunately, police said, no casualties were reported as a result of the attack.

The seventh attack — a hand grenade blast — hit Turbat's Josak area, police said; however, no injuries were reported.

In a shootout with terrorists today morning, one soldier was martyred, while two others got injured in Balochistan's Zhob, according to a statement issued by the ISPR.

An operation has been initiated in Zhob, which aims "to deny the terrorists' use of a few suspected routes to move across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to sneak into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along the interprovincial boundary and target citizens and security forces."

The multiple blasts hit Balochistan as the nation is celebrating the 146th birthday of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Christmas.

In light of the terror incidents, Islamabad has been placed on "high alert", and the United States Embassy has also advised its mission personnel to avoid "non-essential and unofficial" travel in the federal capital.

Condemnation

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attacks on security forces and paid tribute to the deceased victims.

In his statement, the president also applauded the security forces for their continued resolve to rid the country of terrorism.

In a statement, the prime minister termed the attack on security forces "heart-wrenching" and vowed to bring the terrorists to justice.

"The nation pays its tributes and respects to our heroes who laid down their lives for Pakistan. The perpetrators of terrorism will be brought to justice. Let there be no mistake about it," he said.

Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah and Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also condemned the attack and resolved to back the security forces in their battle against terrorists.

Moreover, Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, and others also condemned the blasts in Quetta.

Terror on the rise

In the past few weeks, Pakistan has dealt with terrorist attacks of various natures including the recently thwarted hostage situation by Pakistan Army soldiers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Bannu city where the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists seized control of the Counter-Terrorism Department's (CTD) compound.

The military's media wing had said that security forces killed 25 terrorists, arrested two and forced seven to surrender in the Bannu operation.

The situation on the southwestern border has also been challenged with intense hostility by the Afghan border forces who have opened indiscriminate fire towards the civilian population near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Balochistan's Chaman city.

The situation calmed down after authorities on both sides agreed to resolve border and fencing issues through bilateral contacts and consultations earlier this week.

Following these attacks, the country's civil and military leadership has resolved to confront terrorists and work against their intention to deteriorate peace in Pakistan.

In the wake of the Bannu operation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made it clear that the state would not surrender or bow down before any terrorist outfit or organisation.

The prime minister termed terrorism as a sensitive issue of national security, saying that collective thinking and action plan are needed in this regard.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir said Friday the military is determined to bring peace to the country and break the terrorist-facilitator nexus.

"Pakistan Army will consolidate the hard-earned peace, made possible by the supreme sacrifices of resilient Pakistani nation and LEAs (law enforcement agencies)," the COAS said.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that Pakistan is serious about eradicating terrorism, adding that the security situation in the country is better than it was in 2007.

"Action against extremists is necessary for the safety and security of the people," said Bilawal, adding that peace is indispensable for economic stability in the country.