The attack targeted a security post in Panjgur district. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is in Pakistan, has announced petrochemical investments in the province.

Locals look at a burning police vehicle after a bomb explosion in Quetta, Pakistan. March 21, 2010.
Locals look at a burning police vehicle after a bomb explosion in Quetta, Pakistan. March 21, 2010. (AP Archive)

Gunmen have attacked a Pakistani security post in the resource-rich province of Balochistan, killing four paramilitary soldiers, officials said on Monday.

Separatists have for decades fought a low-level insurgency against the government in the southwestern province, which is seeing increased investment in energy and infrastructure projects by China and others, including Saudi Arabia.

"The four men suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died on the spot,” Khan Wasay, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps paramilitary force, said.

The Sunday attack in Panjgur district came as Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was arriving in Pakistan at the start of a tour of South Asia and China, which risks being overshadowed by escalating tension between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia is expected to announce this week eight investment agreements, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the coastal area of Gwadar in Balochistan province. 

Attackers still unknown

No group claimed responsibility for the attack but it bore the hallmarks of the separatists who have long complained that Balochistan's gas and mineral resources are unfairly exploited by richer provinces, with little reward for the people of Pakistan's poorest province.

Pakistan has accused rival India of supporting the Balochistan separatists and instigating unrest there. India rejects that assertion.