A high-ranking Pakistan army officer and his cousin were abducted by the Baloch Liberation Army from Ziarat on the night of July 12/13 and moved to an unknown location. The army officer was identified as Lieutenant Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza, serving in DHA Quetta, and his cousin was identified as Umer Javid. The colonel was later found dead in the area of the Mangi Dam and the BLA has claimed responsibility for his death.
According to sources, Mirza was seized in the area of Warchoom while returning to Quetta from Ziarat along with his family. Officials say that around half a dozen insurgents blocked the highway leading to Quetta and started searching vehicles. They identified Mirza and his cousin and detained them, but spared the family. They took the two detainees along with them. The army officer was later found dead in the area of Mangi Dam, but his cousin is still missing.
The Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of Pakistan’s military, confirmed the abduction of Col. Laiq Mirza in a press release. ISPR said that Mirza and his cousin were picked up while travelling to Quetta after visiting the Quaid-e-Azam Residency in Ziarat. ISPR said that “reactionary forces were dispatched to the area immediately to chase the kidnappers who were allegedly moving to their hideouts.” ISPR said that a search operation was also launched using SSG troops and helicopters.
The Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the abduction of the army officer. In a media statement, the group said that Col. Laiq Mirza was detained by its Special Tactical Operations Squad in an intelligence-based operation on July 12. The group said that it has surveilled Mirza for several days and its members had tailed him all day on July 12. BLA said that Mirza and his cousin were detained in an area where there was the least chance of any collateral damage. BLA said that Mirza’s family was not harmed in any way as they were not a party to his anti-Baloch designs.
BLA said that Laiq Mirza was a serving officer of the Military Intelligence of Pakistan, but he used to work undercover as an officer in the DHA Quetta. The group said that Mirza was involved in the “enforced disappearances” of the Baloch youth and the Baloch genocide. “He confessed to his crimes and he was sentenced to death,” BLA spokesman Jeeyand Baloch stated.
“BLA has compiled a list of military officers directly involved in the Baloch genocide and said that these officers will be hunted down wherever they are and punished for their crimes,” group’s statement read.
“Baloch Liberation Army reiterates once again that occupying forces and their auxiliary units in Balochistan will be continuously targeted until they fully withdraw,” BLA’s statement said on Thursday.
The abduction and subsequent killing of Col. Laiq Mirza has sparked rage among the powerful quarters in the civilian government and the military circles. Chief Minister Balochistan, Quddus Bizenjo, condemned the incident and said that the abductors of Mirza want to create an “environment of terror” in Balochistan. He said that the “nefarious designs” of these elements will be foiled and directed authorities to tighten the security in Ziarat and other tourist spots in Balochistan. ISPR said that an operation is underway to apprehend the perpetrators and vowed that they will be brought to justice for the killing of Mirza.
The highly publicized killing of high-ranking army officer comes only a few months after a deadly attack in Karachi that left three Chinese nationals dead. Pakistani forces and intelligence agencies were barely recovering from the damage and disrepute brought about by the Karachi attack when they were hit once again.