At least 20 people have been killed after an earthquake struck Pakistan’s southern Balochistan province early on Thursday, officials have told the BBC. Authorities say the death toll may increase, and that many people were killed when structures collapsed. Many of the dead were women and children, the Reuters news agency said. The US Geological Survey said it was a 5.9 magnitude quake that struck at a shallow depth of 9km.
Protests have erupted in Pakistan’s port city Gwadar against a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods blamed on the Chinese. It is part of a growing backlash against China’s multibillion-dollar belt and road projects in the country. The protests were part of a growing discontent with China’s presence in Gwadar, whose port is an integral part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).
The Taliban are reported to have raised their flag above a key border post between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and claim it is now under their control. Videos being shared on social media show the white flag fluttering above the Spin Boldak crossing near Kandahar. Afghan officials have denied the post has fallen, although pictures on social media show the militants chatting to Pakistani border guards.
At least 30 people have been killed after two express trains collided in southern Pakistan. Rescuers and villagers have been working to pull injured people and bodies from the wreckage, and as many as 20 passengers are feared to be trapped. Railway officials said about 1,100 people were on board the two trains when they crashed before dawn on Monday in Ghotki, a district in Sindh province.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has condemned Wednesday’s powerful car bomb explosion at a hotel where the Chinese ambassador is understood to be staying in Quetta in south-west Pakistan. At least five people were killed and 12 injured in the attack. Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, where the military has been fighting a decade-long low-level insurgency.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of four men accused of the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. Mr Pearl, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, was kidnapped and beheaded while working on a story about extremist groups in Pakistan. Meanwhile, US officials have indicated they will try and launch legal proceedings against the man accused of his murder, Omar Saeed Sheikh, in the US.
Attackers in southwestern Pakistan have killed at least 11 workers at a remote coal mine, officials said Sunday. The victims were from the minority Shiite Hazara community, Khalid Durrani, a government official, told French news agency AFP. The Islamic State extremist group later claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the mountainous Machh area of Baluchistan province.
A court in Pakistan has ordered that a British-born Islamist militant charged with the 2002 kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl should be freed, his defense lawyer has said. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was sentenced to death in 2002 for masterminding Pearl’s murder but the conviction was overturned this year. Sheikh’s role in the murder of Pearl has long been disputed.
Pakistan’s president has signed a new anti-rape measure aiming to speed up convictions and toughen sentences. The ordinance will create a national sex offenders register, protect the identity of victims and allow the chemical castration of some offenders. Special fast-track courts will hear rape cases and will be expected to reach a verdict within four months.
Gunmen have stormed a five-star hotel in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, killing at least five people, officials said. The military said four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier were killed. According to the military, all guests at the hotel, which has 114 rooms, were safely evacuated. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), an ethnic Baloch separatist group fighting for independence for Balochistan province, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that four fighters were involved.