Jamatul Ahrar blast kills 6 in Balochistan, underscoring local discontent

Pakistan Forward and AFP


Policemen stand guard at the site of a bombing in Chaman, Balochistan Province, on August 10. An improvised bomb planted on a motorbike killed six people, police said. [Asghar Achakzai/AFP]

QUETTA -- An improvised explosive device (IED) planted on a motorbike killed six people in restive Balochistan Province Monday (August 10), police said.

A vehicle carrying personnel from the country's anti-narcotics force was believed to be the target of the blast in Chaman town, which borders Afghanistan, senior police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema said.

"The explosion killed six passersby and wounded 10 others, two of them critically," he told AFP.

Local police official Masood Khan confirmed the attack and casualties.


A police officer stands at the site where a bomb blast hit in Balochistan on August 10. [Courtesy Abdul Ghani Kakar]

Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was attempting to target intelligence officers.

"Such attacks are aimed at spreading fear among the people," said Interior Minister Ijaz Shah in a statement.

Feeling shortchanged

Mineral-rich Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.

China is investing in the area under a $54 billion (Rs. 9.1 trillion) project upgrading infrastructure, power and transport links between its far-western Xinjiang Region and Gwadar port in Balochistan.

The exponential growth of Chinese influence in Balochistan -- with Chinese companies exploiting local resources without care or concern for the impact on locals -- is driving serious unrest in the province, say lawmakers and observers.

Thousands of paramilitary troops carry out security checks and help police in maintaining law and order in restive parts of Pakistan.

[Abdul Ghani Kakar from Quetta contributed to this report.]

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