QUETTA – A complete shutter down strike was observed in different Pakhtun-dominated areas of Balochistan, including the provincial capital, on Saturday against the Friday’s bomb attack on the Awami National Party (ANP) rally in Kuchlak, some 25 kilometre of Quetta. Eight people were reportedly injured in the strike-related violence.

Meanwhile, at least three people were killed and two bullet-riddled bodies found from various parts of the insurgency-hit province.

The ANP had given the strike call to mourn the Kuchlak bomb blast, which targeted a rally, claiming six lives, including the vice-president of Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF), Malik Qasim Shah, while ANP Balochistan President Aurangzeb Kasi and his wife were among the wounded people. The strike was also supported by other nationalist Baloch and Pakhtun parties - Balochistan National Party, Jamhoori Watan Party and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party - and Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Ideological. A religious outfit Lashkar Mujahideen-e-Islam spokesman Mulla Nazir Muhammad had phoned the Chaman Press Club and claimed the responsibility for carrying out the Kuchlak bombing. In Quetta, all main business centres located on Jinnah Road, Share-e-Iqbal, Liaquat Bazaar, Prince Road, Zarghoon Road, Sirki Road, Sariab Road and other areas remained closed throughout the day, while traffic was also thin as compared to normal days.

Shutter-down was also observed in Kuchlak, Pishin, Qilla Abdullah, Chaman, Zhob, Loralai, Harnai, Dukki, Muslim Bagh, Musa Khel and other areas, where common people and business community positively responded to the strike call and brought all their business activities to standstill. Though, the strike remained peaceful all other areas, eight PSF activists were wounded after some unidentified people resorted to indiscriminate fire.

Police said some people forced shopkeepers on Double Road to close their shop upon which a scuffle erupted between them. As a result, about eight people were wounded due to firing and use of iron rods.

Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club, PSF provincial president Zubair Aghan strongly condemned the firing incident on Double Road and said some elements wanted to create differences between Baloch and Pakhtun by pitting them against each other and hatching conspiracies to harm Baloch-Pakhtun unity. He said the PSF was a staunch follower of the nonviolence philosophy of Bacha Khan, but they were being compelled to take arms for their protection. He regretted that despite the tragic incident, the provincial govt even did not condemn the incident nor any action had been taken against the responsible.

On the other hand, there is no end, seemingly, to the series of killings and recovery of dead bodies in Balochistan. According to police, unidentified armed men opened fire in Khuzdar town and killed a local Naseer Baloch. The assailants fled the scene after committing the crime. n another incident, unidentified armed bandits intercepted a motorbike rider on Sabzaal Road of Quetta at gunpoint and shot him dead when he offered resistance. The bandits made away with motorbike. Police moved the body to hospital for autopsy where it was identified as Abdul Kabir.

Unidentified men killed a man identified as Qahir Khan in the Mashakhel area of Dukki. However, the cause of murder is yet to be ascertained.

Levies Force on a tip-off recovered a body lying in the Ghazal Nullah area of Sibi and shifted it hospital for medico-legal formalities, where the victim was identified as Mureed Marri.

Separately, Levies Force personnel recovered a dead body from the Marap area of Surab in Kalat district. The victim was identified as Muhammad Alam.

Levies Force handed over bodies to heirs after completing legal formalities. However, it could not be confirmed immediately when the victims had gone missing.