Christian Member of the Balochistan Assembly Gunned Down

christian-baloch-balochistanQUETTA, Pakistan — A Christian member of the Balochistan Assembly was gunned down by his own security guard in Quetta on Saturday, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Durrani said.

National Party’s Handery Masieh was reportedly shot twice in his neck and chest outside his residence, according to reports. He was shifted to the Civil Hospital, where he passed away.

His nephew was also injured in the attack.

Masieh belonged to Mastung, about 40 kilometers (approx 25 miles) southeast of Quetta. The MPA, said to be in his early forties, was elected in the Balochistan Assembly on a reserved seat for minorities from the NM-65 constituency.

Home Secretary Durrani confirmed the incident and said that a bitter exchange of words between the nephew of the MPA and the accused security guard, Mohuddin Baloch, resulted in Masieh’s killing.

Masieh was trying to breakup the argument when Mohuddin opened fire on him.

Police have arrested the father and brothers of the accused, who fled the scene soon after the incident. “He abandoned his official gun on the spot and ran away,” Durrani added.

Mohuddin, also a resident of Mastung, was one of four security guards provided to the assassinated MPA by the provincial government.

He was handpicked by Masieh himself. “In fact, Mohuddin was an old associate of Masieh, who was serving in an NGO established 10 years  before he became an MPA.”

The home secretary ruled out the possibility of any militant organization involvement in the killing, and added the police is trying its best to trace the accused.

Although Masieh was a Punjabi Catholic Christian and not a Baloch, his name was officially changed to Handery Masieh Baloch when he joined the National Party.

He was known to take care of a church in Mastung, and would often preach Christian literature.

A two-minute silence was observed in the National Assembly for the deceased MPA. Various political parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf condemned the killing, and the incident is being discussed in the National Assembly.

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The deceased MPA’s body is being taken to Mastung, where the funeral prayers will be held tomorrow.

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Mir Behram Baloch is a journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan. Read other articles by Mir.