Policeman killed, 29 injured in Quetta clash
By Azizullah Khan
QUETTA: One police constable was killed and 29 others, mostly policemen, were injured when unidentified people hurled two grenades and shot at police during a protest on Sariab Road on Tuesday.
Supporters of a tribal leader, who was arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance on Monday, had blocked the main Quetta-Karachi Road early on Tuesday and had demanded their leader’s release. The tribal leader was arrested on Monday under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance. Police tried dispersing the protestors and during negotiations unidentified men hurled two grenades and shot at police.
Police shot back and a constable was killed and at least 29 people, including 18 policemen, were injured during the shootout. Superintendent of Police (SP) Wazir Khan Nasir, two deputy superintendents of police and an inspector were also injured.
The SP said miscreants had blocked the road and police was trying to disperse them. He said the attackers had been identified and would be arrested soon.
Witnesses said many were injured during the grenade explosion. A man in the group of protestors threw both grenades at police during negotiations, one witness said. A man calling himself Meerak Baloch spoke to police by phone, saying he represented the Baloch Liberation Army and that he accepted responsibility for the attack and would continue carrying out such attacks.
Balochistan Home Minister Shoaib Nausherwani said the culprits had been identified and would be arrested soon. He also said the government would ban all political protests and strikes in the province, as Balochistan was not in a position to afford such violent incidents. Told that the ARD, MMA and other opposition parties had already announced a countrywide strike on September 9, he said he would not allow protests or strikes that affected the public and if needed he would launch an operation against such activists or parties. He also announced Rs 0.2 million for the dead constable and Rs 50,000 for each injured person.
He said the government had allowed people to protest in different city but unfortunately certain groups had created unrest and shot at police officials.