Pakistan’s army has confirmed that terrorists abducted and killed a senior officer in the southwestern Balochistan province.
A late Thursday statement by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army’s media wing, said a group of 10-12 terrorists abducted Lt. Col. Laiq Baig Mirza and his cousin Umer Javed on Wednesday night when they were on their way back from Ziarat to Quetta.
“On receipt of information, Army Quick Reaction Forces were immediately dispatched to chase fleeing Terrorists who traced them moving to their hideouts in general area Mangi Dam,” said the statement.
“Resultantly, on night 13/14 July, a group of 6-8 Terrorists was spotted moving in a Nullah (sandy river bed) in nearby mountains by one of the teams of security forces. On sensing their possible encirclement, Terrorists shot Lieutenant Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza Shaheed and attempted to flee,” it said.
It added that during an exchange of fire, two terrorists were killed while the remainder fled, taking along with them Mirza’s cousin.
Operations to recover Javed and apprehend the perpetrators are continuing.
“Security Forces remain resolute to thwart such cowardly attempts at sabotaging peace, stability and progress of Balochistan,” said the statement.
The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and murder.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed deep grief and sorrow over the officer’s killing.
“Deeply grieved over martyrdom of Lt Col Laiq Baig Mirza in Balochistan. Our law enforcement agencies will hunt down all those who perpetrated this heinous crime & bring them to justice. My thoughts & prayers are with bereaved family. Nation grieves with them & shares their sorrow,” Sharif tweeted.
Mineral-rich Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest but also poorest province. It is a key route for the $64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.
China is also developing the Gwadar port and is involved in other projects in the province.