Pakistan on alert after riots over killing of tribal chief
PAKISTAN: Pakistan was on alert for further unrest on Monday after
violent rioting over the death of a top tribal leader in a military air
Three people including a policeman died in clashes and hundreds were
arrested as protesters went on the rampage in southwestern province of
Baluchistan, where a rebellion has simmered over the past two years.
A curfew was imposed in Quetta and paramilitary forces deployed as
angry demonstrators torched buses and buildings, exchanging fire with
police and setting off a bomb at a government office south of the
Authorities braced for more trouble on Monday after an alliance of
four Baluch parties called for a general strike over the death of
colourful tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti.
The government said that in view of the law and order situation all
educational institutions in Quetta would remain closed on Monday.
Traffic was thin and markets were shut in several Baluchistan towns
and cities. Bugti, a figurehead of the Baluch insurgency, was one of
more than 20 people killed in a major attack on his hideout in the
province's mountains in strikes launched on Friday.
"We have asked the government to hand over the body of Nawab Akbar
Bugti to us because he is a national hero and we want to bury him
befittingly," said Kachkol Ali, leader of the four-party alliance.
Information minister Muhammad Ali Durrani said body of Bugti was
still buried under the rubble and the government would hand over it to
the relatives when found and added that the work was in progress to dig
out bodies. "Bugti was not targeted and his death was a result of an
encounter which took place due to the resistance against the state,"
Durrani told a press conference in Islamabad late Sunday.
The minister said that at least 17 insurgents and seven security
personnel were killed in the operation, revising down an much higher
earlier toll given by officials.
"There was no curfew in Quetta and flights and trains were
operating," Durrani said.
Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao told state television the situation
was "under control" and added that "nobody would be allowed to violate
The colourful, British-educated Bugti fled his former stronghold
earlier this year following a military crackdown sparked by a rocket
attack during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf in December.
Quetta, Monday, AFP