Gunmen shoot dead police officer and family in southwest Pakistan

A police officer comforts a relative after a police officer and three of his family members were shot dead in Quetta
A police officer comforts a relative after a police officer and three of his family members were shot dead in Quetta, Pakistan November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

November 15, 2017

By Gul Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead a senior Pakistani police officer, as well as his wife, son and grandson on Wednesday as the family was driving in Baluchistan province, officials said.

Two attackers opened fire on the vehicle carrying District Superintendent Muhammad Ilyas and his relatives to Quetta, the capital of the southwestern region, police said.

His four-year-old granddaughter survived and was taken to hospital, they added.

Authorities say there has been a surge in attacks on security officials in Baluchistan, with five suicide bombings and one armed attack targeting police in the past six months.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s shooting – though Sunni militants and sectarian groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, as well as the Taliban, operate in the region that borders Afghanistan and Iran.

Separatists have also fought a long insurgency there, demanding a greater share of the region’s gas and mineral resources and an end to what they say is discrimination.

Baluchistan is at the center of the $57 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a planned transport and energy link from western China to Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar.

(Writing by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Andrew Heavens)