QUETTA - Unidentified gunmen attacked a group of eight people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hazara region when they stopped at a petrol pump near Kuchlak area of Quetta on Sunday evening.

Three men died on the spot and three others, including a 10-year-old boy, were critically injured and rushed to Civil Hospital Quetta by Edhi workers. The boy, whose identity was not confirmed, succumbed to the wounds at the hospital. Police identified the deceased as Yazdan, Irfan, and Mehdi.

However, according to media reports, two women sitting in the car remained unharmed in the firing incident.

Dr Waseem, a spokesman for Trauma Center Civil Hospital, told The Nation that one of the injured had received two bullets in chest and neck while another in abdomen. They were later shifted to Combined Military Hospital over security concerns. “We have been directed by SHO of Civil Line Police Station to shift the injured to CMH due to security reasons,” Dr Waseem added.

Naseem Khan, a police official from Kuchlak Police Station, said the Hazara community members were attacked at Jalogir Petrol Pump, Kuchlak, a town approximately 25km away from Balochistan capital city. They were travelling from Chaman to Quetta and had stopped at the petrol station for refueling, Khan added.

The assailants successfully managed to flee. Soon after the gun attack, security forces reached the scene and cordoned off the area. Hunt was underway to arrest the attackers.

So far, no group has claimed the attack.

Expressing his grief over the loss of life, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri strongly condemned the attack and issued directives that all resources should be utilised to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice. He also extended condolences to the victim families.

This is not the first time that members of the Hazara Shia community have been targeted in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.

On 20th July this year, four Hazara community members including a woman were shot dead in a sectarian attack in Mastung.

In October last year, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Hazara men and women in Quetta. Four women were killed in that attack.