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Monday, August 28, 2006


uetta, 28 August (AKI/DAWN) - At least three people were killed and over 50 others injured as riots erupted in various parts of the restive south-western Pakistani province of Baluchistan in protest against the killing of prominent rebel leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. Bugti, 79, was killed in a gunbattle with Pakistani security forces on Saturday. Pakistan's information minister Mohammad Ali Durrani has said that Bugti's body has not been removed from the rubble of his bunker and that he would be buried in the presence of his family members.

At least 45 vehicles, scores of shops, banks and government buildings were ransacked or set on fire. Hundreds of rioters were also taken into custody. A curfew has been imposed in several parts of Baluchistan including Nushki town.

On Sunday evening heavy contingents of police and Frontier Corps personnel were deployed in different areas of the provincial capital Quetta to curb the unrest.

"Police have arrested around 600 protesters in Quetta on charges of attacking government buildings and vehicles," said a senior police official. He said 12 police personnel, including four officers, were injured in clashes with protesters.

Quetta remained cut off from the rest of the country. Protesters blocked the three main highways - Quetta-Karachi, Quetta-Sukkur and Quetta-Dera Ghazi Khan Road. All Quetta-bound flights coming from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad were cancelled. Passenger trains coming to Quetta from different parts of the country were also stopped at Sibi and no train left Quetta for any destination as Pakistan Railways had suspended the service.

Workers of various political parties and student organisations had started rioting soon after the confirmation of Akbar Bugti’s death on Saturday night. A group of students also smashed the door and windows of the offices of the warden of state-run Baluchistan University’s hostel. They entered the varsity garage and set 16 buses on fire.

"The whole fleet of the university buses has been destroyed," said a varsity official.

At least three people, including a policeman were killed in the violence that spread to other parts of the province. Government builings were attacked and cars were set alight in several different towns and there were reports of firing between police and protesters. In Nushki, the administration imposed a curfew after protesters had attacked a Frontier Corps checkpost and set it on fire. In Kalat, two bombs exploded in government buildings destroying the offices.

Bugti died when his mountain hideout, near Dera Bugti district, was tracked down and attacked by Pakistani ground forces and from the air with missiles from helicopter gunships.

More than two dozen of Bugti's supporters are believed to have died in the heavy fighting that followed, along with a similar number of security personnel.

Pakistan's information minister Mohammad Ali Durrani said on Sunday that the body of the former Baluchistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti had not yet been taken out from the rubble of the bunker destroyed in the Saturday attack and that it would be buried in the presence of members of his family.

The minister made these remarks at a press conference in response to a demand by Nawab Bugti’s son, Talal Bugti, that his father and other slain relatives be buried in their ancestral graveyard in Dera Bugti.

Durrani said it was unclear whether Nawab Bugti’s grandsons, Brahmadagh and Mirali, had also been killed in the raid which left seven security forces personnel, including three officers, dead.


Aug-28-06 10:06

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