Grass-cutting row claims 11 lives in Baluchistan

May 10, 2014 - 2:31:23 am

QUETTA: At least 11 people were killed and five others injured in a tribal dispute over grass-cutting rights in a rural area of southwestern Pakistan, officials said yesterday.

The incident happened on Thursday evening in Jhal Magsi town, south of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

Disputes over water and grass for animal feed are not uncommon in arid, desolate Baluchistan and as many people carry weapons, they often turn violent.

“A member of the local Maachi tribe was shot dead over trespassing and cutting of grass by a member from Peecho tribe, which triggered a conflict,” local administration official, Arbab Khan said.

He said members of Maachi tribe entered a Peecho house and opened fire, killing eight people on the spot, while two more later died in hospital.

Another senior local administration official, Tariq Khan confirmed the incident.

Baluchistan is one of Pakistan’s least developed and most unstable areas, racked by sectarian violence and a long-running militant separatist movement. Wherein less than 4 percent of land in Pakistan is covered with forests.

The rebel insurgency was revived in 2004 with nationalists seeking to stop what they see as the exploitation of the region’s natural resources and alleged rights abuses.

Baluchistan, Pakistan’s largest province, spread over an unforgiving landscape of mountains and deserts, is rich in gas and mineral deposits.