Pakistani officials say about 12 trucks were hit on Saturday as they waited in line to export oil from a port in Baluchistan province.
The Baluchistan High Court has ordered an inquiry into the attack, and Pakistan’s Chief Justice Mushir Alam declared an emergency in the province on Tuesday. The region has been the scene of an increasing struggle between the provincial government in Quetta and separatists who want greater autonomy and control over the region’s natural resources.
As Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that 12 trucks were hit and that only four remained, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and stated they carried out the bombing to avenge India’s killing of Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation in 2006.
Members of the provincial government and the militant group also blamed each other for the attack.
The gunmen attacked the trucks as they waited to leave the oil terminal owned by Pakistan Oilfields Limited, owned by a company that belongs to the federal government. Four people were reportedly killed and 24 others injured in the incident.
The commander of the banned Baluch separatist movement, Sanaullah Zehri, said that soldiers opened fire and wounded the militants in the port in Quetta and that attackers carried out the attack in revenge. Baluchistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, however, insisted that the attackers had infiltrated the convoy.
Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, the minority Sunni party in the Baluchistan provincial assembly, condemned the attack in a statement on Monday.
Baluchistan’s exports, mostly of oil and gas, are driven by the use of nationalized gas facilities along the coast. The separatists claim the facilities are in possession of the people of Baluchistan, while they say they are being run for the country’s interest.