A major attack targeted a labor camp on April 11 in Balochistan, the fourth province of Pakistan which has been the battleground between Pakistan’s military and Baloch nationalist separatists that want Balochistan free of Pakistan’s rule.
The attack reportedly killed 20 laborers and injured some others. Laborers, who were working on a small local bridge, were sleeping in their camp at night when the armed attackers invaded the place and shot them at point blank range. Of those shot dead, most were from Punjab province and a few from Sindh. Interestingly media in Pakistan and international media reportedly the incident with notable difference in stories.
The AFP story of the incident is more detailed and thorough. It adds the perspective of Baloch nationalists’ outcry against the rule of Pakistan over their territory. The story tells that the paramilitary soldiers and policemen supposed to keep the laborers fled as the attackers invaded the camp, leaving the laborers at the mercy of the attackers. For this, Sarfraz Bugti, Balochistan’s Home Minister has ordered the arrest of the soldiers and policemen who were on duty at the site.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported the incident without these details. Against the AFP story, it makes no mention of the Baloch separation movement. The paper also doesn’t mention that Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) has claimed the responsibility for the attack, as was reported by AFP. At the same time, Pakistan’ Tribune paper adds that:
“despite the lapse of security, police clashed with the assailants and firing took place between the two groups.”
The battle for Balochistan’s resources is as old as the political history of Pakistan. Balochistan has the biggest natural gas reserves at Sui in the Pakistan/Balochistan region. The battle intensified after the rape of a doctor working for Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) in 2005. The rapist was allegedly a military captain and Dr. Khalid was haunted by the state agencies and military dictatorship of the time to the point of making her flee the country. Since then, Baloch have actively started targeting military as well as any outside installation or camps that they consider a transgression on their land.
Meanwhile, Pakistani media remains careful when any issue involving the country’s militant and/or spy agencies is at hand. Journalists who try to get too investigative are attacked, kidnapped, or at least threatened over issues involving security forces.