By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Suspected Islamic militants attacked a Christian area in Pakistan’s troubled province of Balochistan killing a 7-year-old child and injuring two others, police officials and Pakistani media said.
In the December 1 attack, a hand grenade was reportedly thrown near the gates of the Christian colony in the southwestern city of Chaman. “The blast smashed windows in nearby homes,” explained police officer Gul Mohammad in comments published by Dawn, a well-informed English daily Dawn.
The Christian boy killed in the blast was identified as Lucky Saleem, police said.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawaz Sanaullah condemned the attack and expressed sorrow at the “loss of innocent life.” He reportedly ordered authorities “to ensure the best medical care” for the injured after they were rushed to Chaman Hospital.
Security forces were at the scene and an investigation was underway. Friday’s attack came after Taliban group gunmen wearing burqas were seen storming a college in the country’s northwestern region, killing nine people, mostly students.
A Taliban faction claimed responsibility for the violence saying the Peshawar Agriculture Institute was “a safe house for intelligence officials,” Pakistani media reported.
Both terrorist attacks came while Muslims observed ‘Milid Milad-un Nabi’, the birth anniversary of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Shezan William, executive secretary of the Catholic relief group Caritas Quetta suggested that the explosion has added to concerns about the plight of Christians in the area. “Christians live in scattered communities across the biggest province and are rarely attacked,” the Catholic ucanews service quoted him as saying.
“The attack has raised concerns for the safety of churches, especially in Christmas gatherings. We are in close contact with locals of the attacked colony and praying for the affected families”, William added.
Balochistan, which shares a large border with Afghanistan and Iran, has been rocked by a series of violent attacks from both separatist groups and Islamist militants in recent weeks.
On November 15, a senior police officer, his wife, son, and grandson were reportedly killed when militants attacked their vehicle in Quetta.
A month earlier, five members of the minority Shia community died in a drive-by shooting.
At least 20 migrant workers who were trying to sneak into Iran on their way to Europe were gunned down by a separatist group in the province last month, media reported.
In multiple attacks last year, over 180 people many of them lawyers and security officers were reportedly killed in Balochistan.