ISLAMABAD/ QUETTA: The attacks in Balochistan prompted the interior ministry to issue a countrywide alert, ordering strict vigilance by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
The terrorists had mounted the attack on Frontier Constabulary (FC) posts in Panjgur and Naushki on Wednesday night through explosions and intense shootout that stretched into Thursday evening, claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army.
This was also confirmed by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid earlier in the day, who reported that four to five terrorists were holding out in Panjgur after the security forces successfully be eliminated soon. This is yet another success that Pakistan Army has achieved against terrorism,” the interior minister said in a video message.
The army said it has encircled four or five militants there while releasing images showing dead fighters with assault rifles, grenades, and night-vision goggles. According to the ISPR, the security forces successfully repelled terrorists’ attack on Frontier Constabulary Camps at Naushki and Panjgur and killed 13 terrorists in its operations while seven soldiers, fighting the terrorists, embraced martyrdom.
“After successfully repulsing terrorist attacks at Panjgur and Naushki Wednesday night, security forces carried out clearance operation to hunt down terrorists hiding in the area,” said an ISPR media release. In Naushki, the security forces encountered and killed five more terrorists bringing the tally to nine terrorists. It added that four brave soldiers embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) including an officer while repulsing the attack.
At Panjgur, the security forces’ operation was continuing to eliminate the fleeing terrorists. It added that four terrorists have so far been killed at Panjgur while at least 4-5 were encircled by the security forces. At Panjgur, during intense fighting, three soldiers embraced shahadat and four soldiers got injured.
The ISPR mentioned that the intelligence agencies intercepted communications between terrorists and their handlers in Afghanistan and India. At the site of the attack in Naushki, shops were shuttered on Thursday morning, with streets were deserted. One local reporter told AFP the mobile phone network was also shut off as police and paramilitary patrols took place.
Later, talking to the Geo News, Rashid said TTP, Daesh and a Baloch sub nationalist network also backed the terrorists to enable Wednesday’s attack, as he doesn’t feel the BLA can pull off such an attack on their own. He said all these groups have recently formed an umbrella organisation the Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA) to carry out terrorism. He accused New Delhi of directing these terrorist organisations for subversion in Pakistan from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. The interior minister also directed the intelligence agencies and provincial law enforcement agencies, including those of Azad Kashmir, to remain vigilant in view of the spike in terror attacks. Offering tributes, the interior minister said our armed forces were fully capable of coping with the menace of terrorism. “I pay tribute to the determination and courage of the security forces in eradicating terrorism,” he said. He said security forces would never allow terrorists to succeed in their nefarious design. The minister said the TTP has begun extortions in Peshawar.
Prime Minister Imran Khan paid tributes to the brave security forces for repulsing the terrorist attacks in Balochistan the previous night as he acknowledged their great sacrifices. Imran said: “We salute our brave security forces who repulsed terrorist attacks against security forces’ camps in Panjgur and Naushki, Balochistan. The nation stands united behind our security forces who continue to give great sacrifices to protect us.”
In a statement on their Telegram channel, the Baloch Liberation Army claimed to have killed dozens of troops in attacks on security personnel camps. A senior Pakistan Army official called the claim “a lie”.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo also praised security forces for thwarting the attacks, saying: “Terrorists cannot intimidate our brave security forces with cowardly attacks. Our security forces are making history. Terrorists should remember that their competition is with the best army in the world which will defeat them on all fronts.” The chief minister added that their sacrifices were a source of pride for the nation, which stood beside them. He also extended his condolences and sympathies to the family of the martyred soldiers.
Addressing a press conference in Quetta, Provincial Home Minister Mir Zia Langove said several threats had been issued this month. “We had threats from Daesh and so-called nationalists,” he said while adding that several groups were claiming responsibility for the attacks. “We have called a meeting of all departments, including intelligence agencies, after which things will become clearer.” The minister said “some people” brainwash the country’s youth and take them towards the path of terrorism. “They are our youth. They carried out terrorism in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Now they are coming back to their country and spreading terrorism,” he said, adding that the responsibility of such attacks lies with terrorist organisations and their supporters. The minister said that sometimes terrorists get support from Afghanistan and also highlighted the fact that Pakistan shared a border with Iran. He said that through the border management committee, Iranian officials had been conveyed Pakistan’s concerns in this regard and had received assurances from the other side.
Condemnations for the attack continued to pour in from across the country. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif paid tribute to the bravery and courage of the Pakistan Army and the officers who had sacrificed their lives to defend the country.
The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib strongly condemned the terrorist attacks on army camps in the Panjgur and Naushki areas of Balochistan. He appreciated the security forces for repulsing the terrorist attacks on security on forces’ camps, said a statement issued here. The whole nation, he said, saluted those who sacrificed their lives for the protection of motherland.
In a related development, the Ulema-Mashaykh from all religious schools of thought strongly condemned the terrorist attacks and said the terrorist elements wanted to play with the peace and security of Pakistan.
Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council and SAPM for Interfaith Harmony and the Middle East, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi and leading Ulemas-Mashaykh in a joint statement saluted the martyrs and soldiers of Pakistan Army and security agencies. “The entire nation stands united with Pakistan’s Armed Forces and security institutions,” they said.
They said the enemy forces are engaged in conspiracies against the security and stability of the beloved homeland of Pakistan. The security institutions have always made sacrifices for the protection of the beloved homeland and for the security of the nation. “Attacks at Pakistan’s security forces and Pakistan Army in tribal areas of Balochistan including Naushki-Panjgur and Kaech are condemnable and deplorable,” they said.
They assured the government and COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa of their full support for the eradication of extremism, terrorism, and for the security of the beloved homeland, but said they were ready for any sort of sacrifice along with the Pakistan Army. The Ulema also prayed for the martyrs and soldiers wounded in the terrorist attack and for their bereaved families.