Separatists kill 13 in southwestern Pakistan
ISLAMABAD — Baluch separatists on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the killing of 13 people who had been abducted a day earlier in a remote area of southwestern Pakistan.
Gunmen kidnapped at least 26 people on Monday from two passenger buses in Machh, a small town in the Bolan district of Baluchistan, which has been riven by a separatist insurgency.
The Baluchistan Liberation Army, a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the killings.
Also on Tuesday, two army officers and a senior police official were killed in a brazen ambush in Chilas, a mountainous town in northern Pakistan. Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack, local news media reported.
The officials - a colonel and a captain in the Pakistan army and a senior police superintendent - were returning from a security-related meeting when they were attacked by armed gunmen early Tuesday. The police official, Hilal Khan, was leading the investigation into the June 23 killings of 10 tourists near Pakistan’s second-highest peak, Nanga Parbat.
In the Baluchistan attack, the two buses were headed from the provincial capital, Quetta, to neighboring Punjab province when they were ambushed Monday night by dozens of armed men. On Tuesday morning, the bullet-riddled bodies of 13 people were recovered from the mountains by law enforcement officials.
The victims had been shot at close range, with wounds to the head and chest. At least 10 passengers had been allowed to leave unharmed after their national identification cards showed them to be natives of Baluchistan. Most of those killed were from Punjab province and at least three of them had worked for the security forces.
A separatist insurgency has simmered for decades in southwestern Baluchistan. Baluch nationalists demand greater autonomy and a bigger share of revenue from the mineral-rich province’s resources.
Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Baluchistan’s governor, urged the separatists to put down their weapons and take part in the political process.
Achakzai said formal dialogue would not be possible unless the separatists put down their weapons and organized as a political party.
“The Doha dialogue between the United States and Kabul broke down because the Taliban came on their own,” he said.
He said that in Pakistan the feeling was the same about negotiating with insurgents. “They would have to be within the constitution and then, within that, if there are any grievances, that can only be solved through the Parliament,” he said, “which means going to the people and getting elected.”