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158 killed in Balochistan since Jan: Minister

Aftab Sherpao was quoted as informing the cabinet that of the dead, 53 were civilians and 33 personnel of law enforcement agencies.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 16:22 IST

Violence in Balochistan has claimed 158 lives since January 1, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao was quoted as informing the cabinet that last week discussed law and order, with a special focus on the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan.

Of the dead, 53 were civilians and 33 personnel of law enforcement agencies, the sources quoted the minister as saying, the Daily Times said.

He added that 72 rebel tribesmen were killed and 41 injured. Since the beginning of January 147 people had been injured.

Sherpao told the cabinet that Dera Bugti, Kohlu and Khuzdar were the main troubled districts where security personnel, government installations and infrastructure were being targeted, unnamed sources told the paper.

"Though incidents of rocket attacks, small arm fires and mine blasts targeting government installations have decreased considerably, there has been an upsurge in violence for the last one week because of proscription of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and cancellation of arms licences to sardars," the minister said.

However, Sherpao said that the overall capability of the BLA had weakened and the process of rehabilitation of displaced Kalpar, Rahija and Masori tribesmen had been completed.

The ongoing rebellion has been called "a civil war" by the New York Times and other media outfits that have detailed the resistance and its cause and the government's armed response.

The BLA was banned on April 7, while arms licences to Baloch leaders including Nawab Akbar Bugti, Senator Sanaullah Baloch and Akhtar Mengal had been cancelled.

Sherpao told the cabinet that the insurgency in Balochistan and Talibanisation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) could hamper economic activity in the country, sources said.

First Published: Apr 20, 2006 13:38 IST