QUETTA/ISLAMABAD - Afghan border guards Wednesday crossed into Pakistan near Zhob and killed five Pakistani citizens and injured a woman, evoking a strong protest from Islamabad against this sheer act of aggression.

Sources said that three vehicles of Afghan forces entered into Pakistani territory and opened indiscriminate firing on the local populace in Qamar Din Karez, some 330 away from Quetta.

“Six persons have been killed, including one Levis personnel and two brothers, while a woman was injured in the attack,” sources said. The intruders swiftly fled back into Afghanistan after the attack. The deceased, who were taken to a local hospital, were identified as Norullah, Fatehullah, Muhammad Haleem, Mir Dad and Molvi Faqir, they said.

Following the incident, Youth Action Committee blocked the main Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan highway in protest. The protesters burnt old tyres and chanted slogan against the Afghan forces and demanded action by the Pakistan government.

In Islamabad, the Afghan Charge d’ Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office and a strong protest was lodged over the incident and serious concern of the government of Pakistan was conveyed. Afghan government was asked to hold an inquiry into the incident, adhere to the border coordination and cooperation mechanisms, and prevent the recurrence of such incidents, which are detrimental to the friendly relations and undermine goodwill between the two countries.

It is not first such incident as in January 2010 too Afghan forces crossed the border and killed three Pakistani citizens in the same area. After the protest by the local tribes, the government had raised the issue with Afghan high officials.

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch also strongly condemned the killing of Pakistani citizens and said such incidents could spoil Pak-Afghan ties. He said it was not first incident of its nature rather Afghan forces had previously also violated Pakistani border and many human lives had been lost in such incidents.

Dr Malik said detailed report had been sought from the authorities concerned about the incident and the security forces were directed to tighten the security at Pak-Afghan border.  He said they would also ask the federal government to take the issue at foreign and defence ministries level.

He categorically stated that violation of border was unbearable and concrete measures would be taken to further improve security at border. He also prayed for peace to the departed souls and courage to the bereaved families.

The CM said we have always tried to establish friendly and brotherly relations with neighbouring countries. “We want good ties with all neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan because it is essential for the peace, stability and bright future of the region,” Dr Malik said.

The chief minister however noted that relations between Pakistan and Afghan governments never remained pleasant despite the fact people of the two countries enjoyed historical, culture and geographic ties. “Due to tense relations and misunderstandings the process of development has almost stopped,” he added. He stressed that forces of both countries should play their role for the stability of peace in the region and avoid occurrence of such incidents.