Karachi: Allah Nazar Baloch, the chief of separatist Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), has been killed in an operation by the security forces in Awaran district of the troubled Balochistan province, the government said on Tuesday.
"According to intelligence reports, BLF chief Dr Allah Nazar has been killed in an operation in Awaran," Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti announced at a press conference in the provincial capital Quetta.
He, however, added that the reports of the 46-year-old tribal leader's death have not been confirmed.
"We have still not recovered his body but at same time there is also no evidence that he is alive no sign of life or otherwise," Bugti told reporters.
There have been rumors about Nazar being killed since late July when security forces conducted operations against separatists in Awaran district but this is the first time a minister has confirmed it.
A BLF spokesman at the time had denied the rumors.
Bugti said security forces stepped up operations in Awaran and adjoining areas after the BLF accepted responsibility for the killing 20 laborers in Turbat in April this year.
He claimed that forces destroyed a communication network of terrorists in an operation in the Dalbandin region and arrested seven militants who were using Indian, Afghan, Iranian and European SIM cards to conduct subversive activities in the province.
Bugti said security forces had seized weapons as well as 600 SIM cards, 1000 antennae and ammunition from the communication center.
Nazar was a key figure and leader for the separatist groups operating in the province and his banned BLF is said to have targeted security forces, vital national installations and pro-government personalities over the years in different parts of the province.
Belonging to a middle-class family from Mashkay in the Awaran district, he was the only separatist leader believed to be engaged in fighting on the ground.