A Christian legislator from Pakistan's troubled southwestern Balochistan province has been gunned down by his own bodyguard while he tried to prevent him from shooting his nephew, police have said.

Handery Masih, a provincial member of parliament for the governing National Party was leaving his home in a suburb of Quetta on Saturday when a policeman who had been his bodyguard for 13 years shot him, Akbar Hussain Durrani, a senior government official told the AFP news agency.

Abddul Razzaq Cheema, the city's police chief, said: "The bodyguard had some personal dispute with Handery Masih's nephew and both had a brawl outside the residence of the politician.

"The bodyguard opened fire on the nephew as Masih came out of his home to stop him. He was hit in the neck and died on the way to hospital."

Cheema added that the bodyguard was "loyal" and bore Masih no personal enmity.

Another police official in Quetta confirmed the killing and added: "Masih's nephew was also wounded in the attack."

It was the latest killing of a serving legislator in Pakistan.

Punjab province governor Salman Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, also a Christian, were assassinated within months of each other in 2011 for speaking out against the country's controversial blasphemy laws.

Balochistan, Pakistan's largest but least developed and most sparsely populated province, is racked by a separatist movement, armed fighters, banditry and sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias.

Source: AFP