QUETTA - Frontier Corps on Saturday launched an operation against terrorists in Mastung area of Balochistan after the killing of 22 passengers and abduction of several others. Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti told media in Quetta Saturday that two helicopters and 500 jawans were taking part in the operation.

He said seven terrorists had so far been killed in the operation.

The home minster said that operation would continue till elimination of the terrorists. He said Mastung incident was a conspiracy against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Sarfraz said Indian intelligence agency RAW could be involved in Mastung incident as it had taken place following the hoisting of Pakistani flag in Occupied Kashmir.

“Terrorists want to divide us. I myself will go there and monitor the operation.

Earlier, the protesters, after acceptance of their demands by government on Saturday, ended their 10 hours-long sit-in staged in front of Chief Minister’s House in Quetta against the Mastung tragedy.  The victims’ families staged sit-in in front of CM’s House against tragic Mastung incident.

The dead bodies of 19 passengers were also lying in the ambulance, alongside the 10 hours-long sit-in. The protesting families demanded strict action against the perpetrators of the Mastung carnage.

Provincial information Ministry Abdul Rahim Zahirat, opposition leader Maulana Abdul Wasay and ANP parliamentary leader Engineer Zamark Khan were in the negotiating team.

After the successful negotiations, the 10 hours-long sit-in concluded and the bodies were shifted to Haramzai, Bhashoor and Qila Abdullah. The atmosphere was gloomy, as the funerals were offered.

The sit-in followed the shooting deaths by unidentified gunmen of 19 people on Friday as they were traveling on a bus in Mastung.

Hundreds of Pashtun families protested after deadly bus hijackings saying they would not bury their dead until the government offers them protection.

Meanwhile, the death toll of Mastung incident reached 22 on Saturday.

A meeting was also held at the Chief Minister’s House with Abdul Malik Baloch in chair.

After the meeting, the Balochistan CM came out and addressed the protesters.

He said, “We are standing with the victims’ families in this sad and testing time. We will be running after the terrorists in order to capture and punish them.”

“We will be installing FC checkpoints at Karachi-Quetta National Highway and we will like to appeal to the families to bury the bodies in light of the Islamic values.”

Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, in a joint press conference with Opposition Leader in Balochistan Assembly Maulana Abdul Wasay, announced to convene an all parties conference to discuss the security situation in Balochistan.

The chief minister also said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in connection with convening of the APC. He said conference will be convened in the next couple of days.

Opposition leader Maulana Abdul Wasay said situation of Balochistan was very bad, whereas target killing was ongoing for the past few days.

Wasay said, “We are being attacked. The attackers are our common enemy. We should work together with tolerance.” ANP parliamentary leader Engineer Zamark Khan said target killing of Pashtuns in Mastung was unprecedented.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan government announced a three-day mourning in the province over Mastung carnage while on the call of various political parties and Anjuman-e-Tajran, a complete shutter-down strike was observed in Quetta.

The sources said that all shops and business centers were closed and traffic was thin on the roads.

Witnesses said the killings appeared to have been ethnically motivated, as gunmen dressed as security officers boarded the bus and demanded identity cards. The victims were then offloaded. Pashtuns were killed, while Balochis were spared. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Officials have launched a manhunt.