No Let-up in Attacks in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province

Posted July 13th, 2012 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's volatile Baluchistan province suffered another attack Friday, when a bomb struck a political rally in the provincial capital.

At least six people, including a child, were killed in the blast, which occurred while members of the Awami National Party were meeting in Quetta. Police say more than 12 others were wounded when a bomb planted on a bicycle exploded.

Rasheed Nasir, a party worker who was among the wounded, told reporters: “We were on stage and the rally was going to start. As the secretary was making the announcement, suddenly the blast happened and many of our workers were martyred and wounded.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The southwestern province of Baluchistan has been the scene of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, militants attacks, and a low-level insurgency. Baluch separatists say they want political autonomy and a greater share of the profits from the region's oil, gas and other natural resources.

Human rights groups have also accused local security forces of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of ethnic Baluchis suspected of involvement in the insurgency. This week, Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered paramilitary forces to produce missing persons before the court, saying the force is picking up “every third person” in Baluchistan.

Friday's bombing is the latest violence to hit the province, with at least 40 people killed in attacks so far this month.

Earlier this week, police found the bodies of seven kidnapped coal miners in Baluchistan.

And on July 6, suspected rebels opened fire on a bus in the Turbat district, killing at least 18 passengers. The bus was bound for Iran.