By Syed Moazzam Hashmi
ISLAMABAD, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The riots which broke out following this morning's assassination of a famous politician in Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province have partially paralyzed the life in the region.
Early Wednesday morning, Habib Jalib, a former senator and secretary general of Balochistan National Party, was shot dead by three unknown gunmen riding on motorcycles outside his house in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan province.
Widespread riots broke out throughout the province following the incident. Security was beefed up as hundreds of protestors pelted stones at vehicles, blocked streets and pulled the shutters down bringing all kind of businesses and vehicular traffic to a standstill. A rest-house in Noshki area was also torched by protestors.
Most of the main highways including the main RCD highway that links Pakistan with Iran and Turkey have been blocked in the areas of Hub, Mastung, Kalat and Khuzdar by irate protestors as soon as the news of Habib's assassination spread out.
BNP has announced a 40-day mourning to protest against the killing of its general secretary and a 3-day wheel-jam strike in the province. The provincial government has announced closure of all private and government offices for a 2-day period. All educational institutions will also be closed for three days.
An attorney-at-law by profession, Habib Jalib was educated in Moscow of Russia and was inspired by socialist ideology. From his political platform BNP, he championed the cause of Baloch nationalism and had been fighting for more rights for Baloch people and a better share in natural resources exploits. He had been quite vocal on certain burning issues including the "missing persons" in the province. "Missing persons" refer to political activists who have been missing for their alleged anti-state activities in Pakistan.
Balochistan, the geographically largest yet the least developed province in Pakistan, has been experiencing insurgency and frequent terrorist incidents for a long time. The province, rich in mineral resources, supplies 50 percent of the natural gas consumed in Pakistan.