Oct 252018

A policeman was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Quetta’s Nawan Killi area on Thursday morning, police said.

Head Constable Muhammad Musa was going to work on his motorcycle and when unidentified attackers opened fire on him and escaped unhurt from the site of the attack, police said.

The police officer died on the spot. His body was shifted to Quetta’s Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Police and other law enforcement personnel reached the site of the attack and launched an investigation into the incident, which police said appeared to be a targeted killing.

Police officers are said to be high-risk targets in Balochistan.

Balochistan has been divided into two areas – A and B – based on how their security is organised. Police are responsible for maintaining law and order in Category A areas ─ 10 per cent of the province ─ while Category B is under the control of the Balochistan Levies. However, 90pc of violent crime occurs in Category A areas that are covered by police.

The high level of organisation in police ranks is believed to be one of the factors that incite violence against it by terrorist outfits.

Around 2001, at the onset of the deterioration in Balochistan’s security situation, Baloch separatists would target police constables in Quetta, mainly because most cops hailed from Punjab.

With the passage of time, as the ethnic composition of the police department changed, sectarian and militant outfits began carrying out attacks against cops. In recent years, most targeted attacks against policemen have been claimed by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) or the TTP.

A number of attacks in Balochistan last year targeted senior police officials.

Former district police officer Killa Abdullah Sajid Mohmand and his guard lost their lives in a TTP-claimed blast near Boghra Road in Balochistan’s Chaman area on July 10.

Former deputy inspector general Police Telecommunication Hamid Shakeel Sabir and two other police officials were killed in a TTP-claimed suicide bombing in Quetta’s Chaman Housing Society on November 10.

Seven policemen were among 14 people killed in a suicide blast near the Balochistan police chief’s office on Quetta’s Gulistan Road on June 23, while at least 20 other people were injured in the attack which was claimed by both the Jamaatul Ahrar and IS.

At least eight people, including seven policemen, were killed and 24 others injured in an explosion targeting a truck carrying police officials in the Sariab Mill area of Quetta on October 18. The attack was claimed by the TTP.

On July 13, former superintendent police Mubarak Shah and three other policemen were gunned down in Quetta’s Killi Deba area in an attack claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, and on Nov 15, SP Muhammad Ilyas and three members of his family were gunned down in Quetta’s Nawan Killi area.

In addition to major attacks, seven policemen were kidnapped in Balochistan’s Awaran area on June 29 ─ Eid day ─ but later released when security forces blocked all entry and exit points of the area.

A number of operations have been conducted in different parts of the province, including Quetta and Zhob, and probe teams set up to investigate different attacks.

According to the police department, it has lost over 834 officers and constables in different incidents since 1979.

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