QUETTA: A large number of protesters are staging a sit-in outside the Governor House here on Saturday to protest the killings of 21 people who were kidnapped from two Karachi-bound coaches and gunned down by armed men on Friday.
On Friday night, gunmen kidnapped about two dozen passengers from two Karachi-bound coaches and killed at least 21 of them in Khad Kocha, a mountainous area about 70km southeast of the provincial capital, in Mastung district. The gunmen reportedly injured three passengers.
A few passengers are still missing.
The family members and relatives of those killed in the Mastung massacre are protesting outside the Governor House with victims’ bodies laid beside them.
The protesters decided to continue the protest after negotiations between them and the administration failed.
Security around the Balochistan Chief Minister House and the Governor House was tightened as protesters crossed the Red Zone to demonstrate.
Meanwhile, security personnel conducted a operation in different parts of Mastung in the wake of the tragedy last night.
Frontier Corps (FC) spokesman said that at least five miscreants were killed by security forces in the operation in which over 200 FC personnel participated.
According to sources, the armed men intercepted the two coaches in Kund Umrani area of Khad Kocha in Mastung district and asked the passengers to get down.
Balochistan Home Secretary retired Capt Akbar Hussain Durrani told Dawn that the kidnappers had taken away about 30 passengers and later freed five of them at a distance from the road. “All the passengers belonged to Pishin district and were going to Karachi,” he said.
The driver of one of the coaches was injured in the firing and brought to Sandeman Civil Hospital in Quetta. He said the armed men signalled him to stop the bus and when he tried to speed away they opened indiscriminate fire.
Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch condemned the killings and said he was monitoring the operation against the kidnappers.