Four Pakistani security personnel were killed in a gun and grenade attack on Sunday after a check post in Balochistan’s Sherani district was targeted by armed fighters.
Balochistan, which is Pakistan’s largest province and the most sparsely populated, is a deadly battleground for Pakistani armed forces who are targets of attacks by nationalist Baloch rebels daily. Lately, the security forces are under attack in the province from the Afghanistan-based Pakistani Taliban (TTP) also.
It is not clear which rebel group was behind the attack.
The Dawn quotes Deputy Commissioner of Sherani, Bilal Shabbir as saying that the exchange of fire between the security forces and the attackers continued for almost two hours in which one attacker was killed and two others were injured. The attackers managed to take away their injured companion.
The forces have cordoned off the area and initiated a probe into the attack. A state of emergency has been declared at the Zhob Civil Hospital and staff leave has been cancelled.
Pakistan’s border provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have seen escalation of attacks on Pakistani forces after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021. Balochistan is witnessing daily attacks on policemen, paramilitary the Frontier Corps (FC) and even the Pakistani Army.
Last week, Sumaiya Baloch – a female suicide bomber targeted a five-vehicle convoy of Pakistani forces in Turbat. The attack killed one policeman and injured two others, spotlighting the growing insurgency in a chaotic and unstable Pakistan.
Earlier this week, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) set fire to 20 coal trucks in Harnai, Balochistan, which were ferrying coal to thermal power plants in Punjab. Barely one month earlier the armed Baloch group had damaged 42 coal trucks taking coal to plants outsides the province.
Earlier the TTP was said to have carried out the bombing in the Peshawar mosque that killed over 100 people. It also attacked the Karachi Police Office (KPO) in February this year after which commandos took over and cleared the premises.
The Baloch, who seek independence from Pakistan, say that the country is ferreting away Baloch mineral resources in conjunction with China. The over seven-decade Baloch conflict has resulted in an armed nationalist movement where the community is now not only attacking Pakistani interests in the region but also Chinese investment.