Mass graves in Balochistan raise concerns about human rights violations
Mass graves in Balochistan raise concerns about human rights violations - Representational image

Militants shot dead 14 people in Pakistan's restive Balochistan on Thursday. The victims were pulled out of a passenger bus travelling from Karachi to Gwadar and lined up after their identities were checked. As many as 16 people were gagged and lined up but two of them ran escaped bullets, local reports said.

Pakistan hasn't officially revealed the identity of the dead nor the outfit behind the attack. Both insurgent groups and Islamic militants are active in strife torn Balochistan. While the Baloch separatists attack people from other ethnicities, the Islamic militants in the region target Shia Muslims.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that an alliance of ethnic Baloch separatists claimed the responsibility for the attack. The spokesperson for the armed groups said the attackers targeted people carrying identification documents of Pakistani navy and coast guards.

"... those who were targeted carried [identification] cards of the Pakistan Navy and Coast Guards, and they were only killed after they were identified," the spokesperson for the Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS) said in the statement, al jazeera said.

According to local reports, the victims were offloaded from a bus on the Makran Coastal Highway in Ormara area of Balochistan. The terrorists then separated 16 of the passengers after checking their identity documents. It's not known as of now people from which ethnicity or religious affiliation were killed. No terror organisation has claimed the attack.

Targeted killing

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Nearly 20 armed assailants wearing Frontier Corps uniforms stopped the bus and handpicked their victims in the dead of night, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported, citing senior Balochistan police officers. Balochistan Inspector General of Police Mohsin Hassan Butt said what happened on Makran Coastal Highway was a "targeted killing".

Balochistan witnessed two terror attacks in the past week. While an attack targeting the minority Hazara community in Quetta killed 20 people, a blast that targeted security forces in Chaman killed two civilians and injured more than ten.

Baloch Liberation Tigers (BLT), an active anti-Islamabad outfit, had claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a gas pipeline in the Dera Bugti area in Balochistan in March. The militant group considers Pakistan its opponents and has waged a struggle to claim equal rights for the Baloch people in Pakistan.

In November last year, Baloch separatists carried out a daring attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi, posing the biggest ever challenge to the ambitious economic cooperation agenda chalked out by the China and Pakistan. The attack was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).

"There were three suicide attackers ... They stormed the Chinese embassy in Karachi. China is exploiting our resources," BLA spokesman Jiand Baloch said, according to UK's Guardian newspaper.  The people of Balochistan have long held the grouse that the region's mineral wealth is exploited by the state, and worse off, being delivered to China on a platter.