Alwaght- Unidentified Assailants have killed ten laborers in southwestern Pakistan in two separate attacks as they were working on link roads to connect outlying towns to the country's $57-billion Chinese "Belt and Road" initiative.
According to Dawn news website, gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on the laborers working at a road in Gwadar's Pishgan area, killing eight laborers on the spot.
Two of the injured laborers died while they were being rushed to District Headquarters Hospital.
The assailants attacked the men at two separate construction sites three kilometers apart along the same road. They then fled the scene.
The attack on the Pakistani laborers took place some 20 kilometers from the emerging port city of Gwadar in Baluchistan province that forms the southern hub of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC(.
"All the laborers were shot at close range," said senior levies official Muhammad Zareef, adding that the shooters were traveling on a motorcycle. The levies are a paramilitary force that oversees security in Baluchistan where police jurisdiction is limited to major urban centers.
Gwadar's deep-water port is the exit point for a planned route from China's far-western Xinjiang region to the Arabian Sea.
Though no group has admitted responsibility for the shootings, past attacks in the region have been carried out by separatists who view construction projects as a means to take over their land.
Separatist militants in Baluchistan have long waged a campaign against the central government for decades, demanding a greater share of the gas-rich region's resources.
Security officials have said previously that militants trying to disrupt construction on the economic corridor have killed 44 workers since 2014, all of whom were Pakistani but often hailing from other provinces.
Pakistan's military created an army division in 2015, believed to number more than 10,000 troops, specifically to protect CPEC projects and Chinese workers.
The roads the laborers were working on are not specific CPEC-funded projects, but they are part of a network of connecting roads that are part of the corridor.
The shootings come a day after a suicide bomber targeting a Pakistani senator killed 26 people and injured 40, Baluchistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said.
The blast took place in the town of Mastung, about 50km south of Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, shortly after the end of Friday prayers.
Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri escaped the attack with light wounds, medical officials said, but his driver and another aide in the same vehicle were killed.
Friday's attack was claimed by ISIS via its Amaq news website. It said the attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest.