QUETTA  -    At least Six Levies personnel were killed in a terrorist attack on the Levies checkpost in Sanjawi area of district Ziarat on Wednesday.

According to Deputy Commissioner Ziarat Qadir Bakhsh Parkani, the incident took place when terrorists attacked and opened fire at the Levies checkpost in Lal Khatai near Sanjawi area of Ziarat.

Parkani told VOA security forces have launched a search operation in the area to try to capture the “terrorists” who carried out the pre-dawn attack, about 50 kilometres from Quetta. “It was a sudden attack. The attackers came on motorcycles,” he told newsmen.

Consequently six on-duty security personnel namely Mehtab Uldin, Sipahi Abdul Kaeem, Sipahi Fakeer Ahmed, Sipahi Muhammad Usman, Sipahi Abdul Shakoor and Sipahi Dad Muhammad died on the spot.

Security forces reached the site of the incident on receiving information and shifted bodies to Civil Hospital Ziarat. After conducting the postmortem the bodies were handed over to the deceased families.

The security personnel also cordoned off the entire area and started a search operation to trace the suspects.

The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for plotting the raid. A purported TTP spokesman alleged in a statement the raid was carried out to avenge killings of some of its members by security personnel deployed at the outpost.

Later, a large number of people including provincial minister and officials offered funeral prayers of the six martyrs of the Levies Force in Sanjavi area of Ziarat.

Balochistan Minsiter for Public Health Engineer Haji Noor Muhammad Dummer, Commandant Loralai Scouts Colonel Amir Mukhtiar, Commissioner Sibi division, Deputy Commissioner Ziarat, Levies officials, police officials, relatives of the victims and other people attended the funeral prayers of the martyred Levies men.

The bodies of martyrdom were sent to their native towns for burial after the funeral prayers.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Jam Kamal Khan along with other provincial ministers strongly condemned the attack on personnel of Levies Force in Sanjavi area of Ziarat. The CM said “We are proud of the martyrs of the Levies force personnel.”

He said such cowardly attack could not weaken morale of the security forces, adding security forces are playing their vital role to curb terrorist activities.

Jam Kamal Khan said security forces including Levies Force, police, Frontier Corps and Pakistan Army are fighting terrorism with bravery and courage for stability of the country including Balochistan.

On Sunday last, a bomb detonated in one of the carriages of a Quetta-bound train, killing five passengers and wounding at least eight others. Baloch separatists claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Balochistan, which borders both Afghanistan and Iran, has been beset by militancy for decades along with high levels of poverty.

China, one of Pakistan’s closest allies, has poured billions into the South Asian country in recent years as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – a massive infrastructure project that seeks to connect its western province of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan.

The subject of economic dividends from CPEC is extremely sensitive in some of those areas, particularly in Balochistan.

Since the beginning of the project, militants have repeatedly attacked construction sites, blowing up numerous gas pipelines and trains, and targeted Chinese workers.

ARRESTS IN DI KHAN

Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Wednesday foiling a terrorism bid arrested an alleged suicide attacker, his facilitator and recovered four police uniforms, suicide jacket and huge quantity of explosive material.

The CTD acting on a tip-off raided a house located in Jhok Hayat suburb area of Dera Ismael Khan and arrested the suicide attacker identified as Ammad resident of Azad Kashmir and local facilitator resident of Shamozai area of DI Khan, a CTD official told media.

Two rocket launchers, 12 explosive shells, four hand grenades, 17-metre long explosive wire, six detonators and 12 locally prepared bombs were recovered from them. The Bomb Disposal Squad defused 30 KG explosive material on the spot.

It may be mentioned here that District Police Officer Salim Riaz on the directives of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government Wednesday convened a meeting of Shia and Sunni ulema here at his office to ensure peaceful observance of “Nou-Roz” festivities of Shia sect on March 21 in the city.

The district government, security forces and police have already beefed up security across the city and increased patrolling and security check to avert any untoward incident.