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Former Chief Justice Among 4 Killed in Insurgent Attacks in Pakistan  

Baluchistan, Pakistan
Baluchistan, Pakistan

A roadside bombing and a separate gun attack Friday in southwestern Pakistan killed at least four people, including a former chief justice.

The deadly late-evening violence occurred in sparsely populated Baluchistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

Officials said that an improvised explosive device hit two vehicles carrying civilians and security forces in the Mastung district, about 75 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta. The blast killed three people and wounded five others, including security forces.

No one immediately claimed responsibly for the roadside bombing.

Separately, senior provincial police officials said gunmen ambushed and killed a former chief justice of the high court in Baluchistan while he was returning home after offering evening prayers at a mosque in his native Kharan district.

An outlawed insurgent group, the Baluch Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the assassination of Muhammad Noor Meskanzai.

The slain judge had retired in May as chief justice of Pakistan’s constitutional Islamic court, known as the Federal Shariat Court, which is separate from the civil courts and has the power to examine whether national laws comply with tenets of Islamic law.

Ethnic Baluch insurgent groups routinely carry out attacks against Pakistani security forces and government officials in Baluchistan. The insurgents claim they are fighting for the independence of the impoverished province that is rich in natural resources.

Pakistani officials maintain that years of security operations have largely degraded the Baluch insurgency, though attacks in the region persist. Islamabad accuses archrival India of supporting the insurgents, charges New Delhi denies.

Baluchistan is lately at the center of a massive China-funded development program, which has built road networks and power plants in Pakistan over the past seven years.

The multibillion-dollar collaboration is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an extension of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. It also has developed Baluchistan’s strategically located deep-water Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, which is operated by Beijing’s state-run China Overseas Ports Holding Company.