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Gunmen kill top gas company official in Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan — Gunmen on Monday shot dead a top gas company official in southwest Pakistan, where targeted killings blamed on insurgents, sectarian groups and Taliban militants have spiked, police said.

The assailants riding on a motorbike sprayed bullets at Mohammad Khalid, who was deputy general manager of Sui Southern Gas Company, soon after he left home for his office in Quetta, senior police officer Tariq Manzoor said.

"Bullets pierced his head and Khalid died on the spot while his driver was wounded and rushed to hospital," Mazoor told AFP.

It was a "targeted killing" from close range, he said.

Family members of Khalid and company workers protested against the killing in Quetta, capital of southwestern province Baluchistan, witnesses said.

Violence has recently surged in Baluchistan which borders both Afghanistan and Iran. About two dozen people died in targeted killings in March.

Baluchistan is rife with Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunnis and minority Shiite Muslims and regional insurgency.

Baluch rebels rose up in 2004 demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's wealth of natural resources, including oil and gas. Hundreds of people have died since then.

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