Gunmen Kill 22 in Pakistan Bus Attack

Gunmen Kill 22 in Pakistan Bus AttackGunmen Kill 22 in Pakistan Bus Attack

Gunmen disguised as members of the Pakistani security forces killed at least 22 passengers on Friday night after forcing them off buses traveling from the western city of Quetta to Karachi on the southern coast, officials said.

The assault in the province of Balochistan occurred in the town of Mastung, around 40 km south of Quetta. All of the victims in that attack were Ismailis from Pakistan’s minority Shiite community.

“Fifteen to 20 armed men in three pickup trucks wearing security uniforms kidnapped around 35 passengers,” Sarfaraz Bugti, Balochistan’s home minister, told Reuters.

He said the bodies of 22 passengers were later found approximately 2 km away from the main Quetta-Karachi Highway in foothills. Seven of the assailants were killed in an operation involving hundreds of soldiers and police, he added.

The attack will be a concern for the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif because it raises further questions about the feasibility of a new economic corridor Pakistan wants to build with billions of dollars of Chinese investment.

Separatists have been waging an insurgency in Balochistan, of which Quetta is the capital, for more than a decade. They are demanding an end to what they see as the exploitation of their resources by people from other parts of Pakistan.

Militants regularly target civilians and security forces in Pakistan. Earlier this month, at least 43 commuters were killed on a bus in Karachi by a group that declared allegiance to IS.