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Amnesty International:
Balochistan: Pakistan’s response to crisis failing

AI Index: PRE01/492/2011

Two separate attacks on civilians in Balochistan highlight the failure of Pakistan to tackle escalating insecurity in the region, said Amnesty International.

Yesterday, Baloch politician Abdul Salam was assassinated in the city of Khuzdar by unknown assailants. Abdul Salam was a human rights defender who worked on behalf of hundreds of victims of enforced disappearance in Balochistan.

"A brazen assassination like this in a city as heavily militarised as Khuzdar raises serious questions about the will or ability of Pakistan’s security forces to protect the people of Balochistan," said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International’s Pakistan researcher.

Three employees of the BGP Oil and Gas company were killed and 4 injured in an attack in eastern Balochistan yesterday. The Baloch Liberation Army, an armed group that demands a separate homeland for ethnic Baloch, claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The Pakistan government's military response to the crisis in Balochistan has failed to protect the rights of Pakistani citizens living there. It's crucial for the government, including the civilian and military authorities, to commit to the rule of law and establish accountability for all perpetrators," said Mustafa Qadri.

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Additional coverage:

BNP leader killed in Khuzdar

By Mohammad Zafar

QUETTA: Balochistan National Party former district president Advocate Abdul Salam was gunned down and his daughter sustained bullet injures near the Government Model High School Khuzdar on Wednesday, some 300 kilometres away from the provincial capital.

According to official sources, Advocate Abdul Salam, President of Jhalawan Bar Association was going home from his office with his child in an Alto car, when some unidentified armed men on a motorcycle opened fire on him in a civil colony area. Resultantly, he and his daughter received serious bullet wounds. The injured were taken to the District Headquarter Hospital. Abdul Salam succumbed to his injures before reaching the hospital and later the child was referred to another due to her serious condition.

So far no one has claimed responsibility. However, BNP sources blame government functionaries for killing important political opponents of the government in Khuzdar and elsewhere.

BNP leaders said that the government had targetted BNP and its political activists for killing. He condemned the statement of the prime minister claiming that there was no political prisoner while political activists were being gunned down in the hundreds.

The Balochistan National Party’s Senior Naib President Safar Khan has announced a three-day mourning period and a shutter down strike on Thursday (today).

President Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the killing of Abdul Salam.

The President expressed grief and shock over the tragic killing and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.

He also directed the concerned provincial authorities to take all necessary measures to bring to justice the culprits involved in this heinous crime.

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