At least six people were killed and another ten injured in the explosion in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, police and local media reported.
Chaman explosion leaves six dead in Balochistan province
The blast — the latest in a series of similar incidents — occurred in the remote Chaman district in Balochistan province, a gateway to the neighboring Afghanistan, and a key NATO route.
The blast occurred at the Haji Nida market of Chaman town in Balochistan province, according to police.
At least eight injured were reported to be in critical condition.
An improvised bomb planted on a motorbike killed six people in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province on Monday, police said.
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A vehicle carrying personnel from the country’s anti-narcotic force was believed to be the target of the blast in Chaman town, which borders Afghanistan, senior police official Razzaq Cheema said.
“The explosion killed six passersby and wounded 10 others, two of them critically,” he told.
The bomb was planted in a motorcycle parked outside a construction site on Mall Road, the city’s downtown, and was detonated via remote control, local broadcaster Geo News reported, quoting unnamed police officials.
Authorities suspended traffic into Afghanistan via the Chaman border following the explosion, the channel said.
Footage aired on Geo News showed the site strewn with broken glass as panicked bystanders sought cover in nearby streets.
Baloch separatists waging insurgency
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Baluch separatists demanding greater autonomy have been waging an insurgency for years while the province is also riven by sectarian strife and Islamist violence.
Interior minister Ejaz Shah said in a statement that “such attacks are aimed at spreading fear among the people”.
Mineral-rich Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.
China is investing in the area under a $54 billion project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, upgrading infrastructure, power and transport links between its far-western Xinjiang region and Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan.
Thousands of paramilitary troops carry out security checks and help police in maintaining law and order in restive parts of Pakistan.
Nobody claimed the responsibility of the attack.
Militants and separatists belonging to the banned outfits have stepped up terror attacks in Balochistan in recent weeks.
At least one person was killed and six others were injured after an explosion in Turbat bazaar on July 21.
Pakistan’s Baloch insurgency a by-product of neglect?
For the longest time now, Balochistan has made headlines for the wrong reasons. What primarily characterises this fragile zone is perpetual violence and instability. The extraordinary economic and geostrategic significance has transformed it into a hub of conflicting interests.
The Baloch history is testimony to global exploitation that emanates essentially from its abundant resources, extracted by countries to cater to their advantages. Furthermore, the Pakistani representation of a pro-Indian stance in Balochistan is just another provocation to its open-ended resentment towards India.
Lack of reconciliation efforts will worsen the situation and stretch the civil war furthermore. A democratic transition in the province that is entirely in possession of Islamabad shall prove to be fruitful in addressing socio-economic issues that the people in Balochistan are subjected to.
The long history of insurgency makes it fair to surmise that Balochistan favours political negotiation to counter Pakistani marginalisation and aggression.
Therefore, brutal repression of interests by military means coupled with a reluctance to accommodate the political interests will cause the insurgency to linger around for a longer time. Secondly, reducing and balancing complexities in this volatile region also calls for global cooperation.
As far as India is concerned, the Baloch province has routinely regarded India as an ally in their fight against Pakistan. Moreover, recent engagements with PLA troops along the Indo-China periphery have already propelled anti-Chinese sentiments in the country. Therefore, Indian involvement in Balochistan legitimises the possibility to counter both Pakistani and Chinese aggression in a single stroke. Appeasement of the distressed region, both regional and international shall help to surmount the insurgency to some extent, if not eradicate it wholly.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk