Lt. Col. Laiq Baig Mirza of the Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom after being shot by terrorists, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced in a statement on Thursday.
According to the military’s media wing, Mirza—who had been deployed at DHA Quetta—was abducted by a group of 12 terrorists on the night of July 12 along with his cousin, Umer Javed, from Ziarat when they were returning to Quetta after visiting Quaid-e-Azam’s residence. It said the Army Quick Reaction Forces had been immediately dispatched to recover the abductees and capture the fleeing terrorists, who had been traced heading toward hideouts in the general area of Mangi Dam.
The ISPR said a search operation, using Special Service Group troops and helicopters, had subsequently been launched. On the night of July 13, it said, a group of 6-8 terrorists was spotted moving towards a nullah in the nearby mountains. When the terrorists sensed they were being encircled, it said, they had shot Mirza and attempted to flee the site.
Troops tried to prevent the escape, read the statement, adding that the ensuing exchange of fire had resulted in the deaths of two terrorists. A large cache of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), explosives and ammunition was also recovered from their hideout, it said, adding that the remaining terrorists had fled the site with Umer, who has yet to be recovered.
The ISPR said that an operation to recover the missing civilian and apprehend the terrorists was still ongoing, adding that security forces were determined to thwart all cowardly attempts at sabotaging the peace, stability and progress of Balochistan.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered his condolences on the martyrdom of the lieutenant colonel. “Deeply grieved over martyrdom of Lt. Col. Laiq Baig Mirza in Balochistan. Our law enforcement agencies will hunt down all those who perpetrated this heinous crime and bring them to justice. My thoughts and prayers are with bereaved family. Nation grieves with them and shares their sorrow,” he said.
In a statement issued to media, the Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the abduction and execution. It alleged that the military official had been its “primary” target and was abducted after several days of tracking. “BLA has compiled a list of all Pakistani military officers that are directly involved in Baloch genocide,” it warned, adding that they would be “continuously targeted.”