Monday, January 24, 2005

Quetta blast damages offices -- BLA claims responsibility

Quetta blast damages offices

BLA claims responsibility

QUETTA (Agencies) - A powerful bomb explosion damaged several offices of provincial ministers and their staff at Civil Secretariat here Monday afternoon.
The device went off in the ministers’ block of the civil secretariat at about 5:15 pm, shortly after officials had left the area.
“The blast caused no casualties, but damaged the building, breaking windowpanes,” Balochistan police chief Chaudhry Yaqoob told AFP.
The so-called Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the blast.
“It is part of our struggle for the rights of Balochistan’s people. BLA will continue this till we achieve the goal,” a man identifying himself as Major Naukaf said in a satellite telephone call to local newspaper offices.
“Luckily the building was empty as the blast occurred after office hours. But offices of ministers and their staff have been damaged,” provincial Home Secretary Aftab Jamal said.
“The device contained three kilograms of explosive,” bomb disposal official Mohammad Mushtaq said. It was planted in the gallery of the second floor of the building, he said.
This was third bomb explosion in the area despite strict security measures.

ALL STEPS TO CHECK TERRORISM: Provincial Home Secretary Aftab Ahmed Jamal told reporters that the Balochistan government was mobilising all its resources to check acts of terrorism including bomb blasts.
He said at this particular office block, there remains rush of the people who came with their applications. This creates security lapses. He said we would further strengthen the measures to check recurrence of these incidents. Special Branch official would now be deployed in the area.
CCPO Pervez Rafi Bhatti said that it was a time device which was apparently planted two to three hours prior to explosion. At the time of explosion, offices were closed therefore there was no human loss or injury to any body.
Provincial Health Minister said that anti-state elements were behind these acts of terrorism and government was taking all possible measures to check such acts.

COMPLETE STRIKE OBSERVED: A complete shutter-down and wheel-jam strike was observed at various cities on the call of Sindh’s nationalists and political parties against military operation in Balochistan and for arrest of culprits involved in Dr. Shazia Khalid gang rape.
All business activities remained suspended to express solidarity with the people of Balochistan and the rape victim, Dr. Shazia.
Meanwhile, angry mob pelted stones on a passenger bus and broke its windscreen and other windowpanes. Sources said that a passenger woman sustained injury during the riot but did not disclose her identity.
Besides, Sindh People’s Students Federation (Shaheed Bhutto) also took out protest rally and staged hunger strike.


SUI EXCHANGE REPAIRED: Telecommunication links between Sui and the rest of the country were restored Monday after the FC troops vacated telephone exchange in Dera Bugti.
Security forces continued to patrol the area where tense peace prevailed today.


PUNJAB AGAINST MILY ACTION: Separately, Ghulam Mustafa Khar met Nawab Akbar Bugti on Monday. He expressed solidarity with the Baloch leader and warned the rulers against military operation in Balochistan. He said military action would not help improve the situation. He maintained Punjabis would not support rulers in this regard.
Bugti, on the occasion, said that he was thankful to Mustafa Khar “who has visited us at a time when military action, tanks and cannons are being used against us. We would welcome this solidarity and support. It is a positive but a big change that our friends from Punjab came to us and they were not supporting military action.”


ACHAKZAI FOR EQUALITY TO ALL NATIONALITIES: Addressing a public meeting at Bacha Khan Chowk, Pishin Monday, Chairman Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakzai said all the nationalities should be given their rights on basis of equality for a stable Pakistan.
“Unless all those living in Pakistan are given their rights, peace can not be established in the country,” Achakzai said. He said that Pashtoon nation is ready to cooperate with every political party for its rights. All the nationalities should be given control over resources in their area.
He said our struggle would continue till we secure our rights, adding that there is no need for establishing cantonments in the province rather people need education, health and foodstuff.

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