Paramilitary soldiers inspect the area after the attack in Balochistan. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
At least seven soldiers were killed in a gun attack on a Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan post in Harnai district.
The terrorist fire raid targeted an FC post located in Shahrag area of Harnai late on Saturday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
It said that during an intense exchange of fire, seven brave soldiers embraced martyrdom while repulsing raiding terrorists. It added that the area had been cordoned off and escape routes blocked to apprehend the fleeing miscreants. A large scale search and clearance operation was in progress in the area.
The statement said such cowardly acts by inimical elements backed by anti-state forces will not be allowed to sabotage hard-earned peace and prosperity in Balochistan and the security forces are determined to thwart their nefarious designs at all costs.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was "saddened to hear of" the soldiers' martyrdom in the attack. "My heartfelt condolences & prayers go to their families. Our nation stands with our courageous soldiers who face attacks from Indian backed terrorists," he wrote.
The martyred personnel were identified as Naib Subedar Gulzar, resident of Mianwali; Sepoy Faisal, resident of Hafizabad; Sepoy Abdul Wakeel, resident of Pishin; Sepoy Sher Zaman, resident of Kohat; Sepoy Jamal, resident of Dera Bugti; Abdul Rauf, resident of Dera Ghazi Khan; and Faqeer Muhammad, resident of Muzaffargarh.
Senior police officer Shawli Tareen gave a slightly higher death toll than the army, saying that during the exchange of gunfire early Sunday morning, six paramilitary troops and two private guards were killed. He said six other troops were critically wounded in the attack.
The attackers fled the scene and made their way into the mountainous terrain before other security teams could arrive to assist, Tareen said.
The attack on the Frontier Corps comes a day after a bomb exploded near a soccer field, killing two spectators and wounding another six in Panjgur district in southwestern Balochistan. No group immediately claimed responsibility for either attack.
The incident comes five days after 10 suspected terrorists were killed in a gun battle with security forces during an intelligence-based operation in Balochistan's Awaran area.
"These terrorists were involved in firing on security forces, which resulted in martyrdom of Lance Naik Mohammad Iqbal on Dec.20 in the Awaran area,” the ISPR had said at the time.
The Pakistani Taliban, led by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan movement, have been emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power across the border in Afghanistan.
The killings shocked the Pakistanis. The suspect, Ajmal, had doubt that his wife was cheating on him. He committed the crime with the help of another accused Rashid.
"We have received two dead bodies and 28 injured," Dr. Mohammad Waseem in Quetta's Sandeman hospital told AFP
Wreckage of vehicles littered the pavement near the shrine as first responders rushed to the scene and armed security forces fanned out in the area.
"As we crossed the road a blast took place in front of us," witness Ritat Shahid told AFP.
Abilash was found with 17 live creatures of six species, the authorities said.
The region also relies heavily on dams to generate its electricity but the heat has caused reservoirs to dry up, exacerbating the energy shortage.
Some yet-to-be-identified miscreants stole 150 cartons of of chocolate bars worth Rs1.7m from a godown in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.