Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Rockets kill one, gut historic building in Pakistan's resource-rich Baluchistan

Source: Reuters - Sat, 15 Jun 2013 04:31 GMT
Author: Reuters
hum-war
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

QUETTA, Pakistan, June 15 (Reuters) - A rocket attack by unknown people killed a policeman on Saturday and gutted an historic summer retreat used by Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the resource-rich province of Baluchistan, only days after a new government vowed to end a guerrilla war there.

Three rocket propelled grenades slammed into the heritage Quaid Azam Residency in the hill town of Ziarat in the early hours of the morning, district commissioner Nadeem Tahir said. A policeman died and the ensuing blaze tore through the two-storey wooden building, damaging several other houses nearby.

"It seems that rockets have been fired from nearby mountains,' a police official said.

The vast province bordering Iran and Afghanistan contains largely unexplored copper and gold deposits but has suffered a long-running armed independence movement, and what rights groups call a campaign of forced disappearances by security forces.

Baluchistan supplies much of the natural gas feeding Pakistan's lifeline textile industry in eastern Punjab province, and is home to a deepwater port at Gwadar.

Saturday's attack was the first since a new chief minister of the province took office last week. He has urged security forces, who deny wrongdoing, to end rights abuses and support his hopes of kindling talks with the insurgents, who are seeking an independent homeland.

On the day chief minister Abdul Malik took oath, five bullet-riddled bodies were found in the province.

The discoveries were seen by many as a message that security forces were intent on continuing what human rights groups have dubbed a systematic campaign of "kill-and-dump".

Jinnah stayed in the Quaid Azam Residency as he tried to recover from a lung disease in 1948, a year after his successful campaign to separate Pakistan from India. He died in Karachi soon after. The building is a national heritage site.

(Reporting by Gul Yousafzai, additional reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Michael Perry)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus