In a resolute response to the harrowing incident, Pakistan’s Caretaker Interior Minister, Senator Sarfraz Bugti, affirmed on Sunday that the government was marshaling all available resources to secure the release of six local footballers who had been abducted just a day earlier in the southwestern region of Pakistan.

Reports from local media indicated that unidentified armed individuals had forcibly taken the footballers captive from the Sui Tehsil area within Dera Bugti district, situated in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, on the preceding Saturday. These footballers, hailing from the local communities of Sui and Dera Bugti, were en route to Sibi, where they were set to participate in the prestigious All-Pakistan Chief Minister Gold Cup football tournament.

Senator Bugti asserted, “We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to secure the safe return of the abducted individuals.” Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior conveyed these words through its official social media platform, X. It was further disclosed that Senator Bugti had promptly issued directives to security institutions on Saturday, setting the wheels in motion for immediate action to retrieve the footballers.

The official statement outlined that the vicinity in Sui Tehsil, where the abduction transpired, had been cordoned off on the same day, and a dedicated operation was underway to effectuate the safe recovery of the victims.

Senator Bugti, resolute and unwavering, declared, “Those who perpetrate violence will find no refuge from the long arm of the law. These kidnapped individuals are our children, and I shall not relent until they are safely reunited with their families.”

Balochistan, a province in Pakistan endowed with significant natural gas reserves, shares a porous border with Iran and Afghanistan. Over the course of approximately two decades, it has been the backdrop for a simmering insurgency led by Baloch nationalists. The separatist movement is driven by grievances related to what they perceive as the unjust exploitation of the province’s wealth by the federal government—a contention that is vigorously denied by the Pakistani state.

The security forces in Pakistan have historically borne the brunt of separatist attacks; however, in recent years, there has been a shift towards targeting Chinese interests, given Beijing’s expanding economic presence in the region.

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