South Asia

Gunmen shoot dead National Party leader in Balochistan

A leader of Pakistan's National Party has been killed in the south-western province of Balochistan.

Maula Bukhsh Dashti was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the town of Turbat where he lived, police say. His attackers escaped on a motorbike.

Two of Mr Dashti's companions were also injured in the shooting. No group has said it carried out the attack.

Thousands of people attended Mr Dashti's funeral in Turbat, where shops shut in protest at his killing.

Mr Dashti's body will be taken to his native village in the Dasht area, south of Turbat, for burial.

The National Party has called for a week of mourning and demonstrations across the province to protest at the killing.

It remains unclear who might have shot Mr Dashti.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says the National Party has been under pressure from separatists in Balochistan to abandon using political means to achieve its goals.

Separatist groups in the province have carried out targeted killings of their opponents and are also blamed by the authorities for killings in which they deny a role, our correspondent says.

Pakistan's shadowy security agents are also frequently accused by Baloch politicians of orchestrating targeted killings of popular leaders and then blaming insurgents.