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Rail links to Balochistan suspended

Most of the rail tracks leading out of Quetta have been blocked and boulders have been placed on railway lines.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2006 15:06 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International

The movement of all trains towards Balochistan, and particularly to capital Quetta, from other parts of Pakistan has been suspended in the wake of more reports of mayhem following the death of Baloch leader Akbar Khan Bugti.

Informed sources said that most of the railway tracks leading out of Quetta have been blocked and boulders have been placed on railway lines.

Officials at the Railways headquarters in Lahore have issued directives not to operate any train between Quetta and Sibbi.

Railway traffic on the 141-kilometre track between Quetta and Sibbi has been closed till further orders.

The Bolan Mail and Balochistan Express trains that run between Karachi and Quetta are being operated only up to Sibbi.

The Quetta Express originating from Peshawar, and Jaffar Express from Rawalpindi are under suspension.

The railway headquarters has issued directives not to make any reservations for Quetta, as trains would operate only up to Sibbi.

Routine life has come to a complete halt in Quetta, almost 72 hours after the torching and ransacking of several government buildings, banks and private property.

Even as funeral prayers were being held for Akbar Bugti at the Ayub Stadium, grief-stricken mobs have been roaming around in a frenzy, setting ablaze and smashing anything in sight, cars, tyres, glassed buildings and windows.

The protesters continue to vent their anger by putting up huge bonfires.

A restive Balochistan has also been crippled by a strike organised by the four-party Baloch Alliance.

All business centres, markets and shops have downed their shutters and vehicles have gone off the road in roads in Quetta, Turbat, Mund, Buleda, Dasht, Tamp, Naukundi, Saindak, Khuzdar, Taftan, Usta Muhammad, Gandakha, Jhall Magsi, Naseer Abad and Dera Allahyar.

The main national highways, including Quetta-Khuzdar-Karachi, Quetta-Dalbandin-Taftan-Nokandi as well as Quetta-Jaccobabad, were blocked for all kinds of traffic.

Unruly protesters are being repeatedly confronted by paramilitaries and other security personnel in an attempt to bring the situation under control.

Troops are resorting to firing in the air to disperse the mobs in different localities.

Meanwhile, all government offices and educational institutions continue to remain closed in anticipation of further violence. Tuesday was declared a holiday in the province by the local administration to pre-empt trouble.

So far, over 100 persons, including a senator and two members of the Balochistan Assembly, have been taken into custody for disturbing the peace.

Jan Muhammad Buladi and Rahmat Ali Baloch, both members of the Balochistan Assembly, and Senator Dr Abdul Malik Baloch have been detained in the Bijli Ghar and BIjli Road police stations respectively.

First Published: Aug 29, 2006 17:41 IST