Slain coalminers’ families refuse to bury the dead, want to meet PM

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad returns home without any success

By: News Desk      Published: 01:13 AM, 5 Jan, 2021
Slain coalminers’ families refuse to bury the dead, want to meet PM
Protesters surround bodies of the coalminers who were slayed in the Mach area in Balochistan.

Talks between protesting families of the martyred Shia Hazaras and a government delegation led by Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad ended without any outcome on Monday evening. 

Sheikh Rasheed left the sit-in after the grieving families refused to end the protest and bury their dead until Prime Minister Imran Khan visits them. 

On Sunday, militants kidnapped and then shot at point-blank range 11 coalminers in Balochistan’s Mach area when they were on their way to work. Levies Force official Moazzam Ali Jatoi said six of the miners died on the spot, while the five critically wounded died on way to the hospital. Jatoi cited initial investigation as saying that militants separated the Shia Hazara coalminers from the rest, took them away and shot them dead. 

Families of the victims took their bodies out and staged a protest demonstration in Quetta. On Monday, Sheikh Rasheed reached the protest venue and conveyed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message that the militants responsible for the bloobath would not be spared. He announced that family of each victim would get Rs1 million from the prime minister and Rs1.5 million from the Balochistan chief minister. He asked the grieving families to bury their dead and promised action against the militants. 

Talking to the media later, Sheikh Rashid praised the Hazara community and talked about the injustice they had been facing for long. He said he was aware of the difficult conditions the Hazara community was living in. He said the Hazara community had been loyal to Pakistan despite sacrificing lives. He said he would talk to the prime minister to form a committee of 10-15 people to discuss Hazara community’s problems. He said the 20-22 years old issue would be resolved. He said that more FC troops would be deployed on Quetta-Taftan Road. He announced a judicial committee to look into the matter. 

Earlier, Sheikh Rashid attended a high-level meeting on the incident in Quetta. National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, Balochistan home minister, chief secretary and heads of provincial law enforcement agencies attended the meeting. Balochistan Chief Secretary Fazeel Asghar and the FC inspector general briefed the interior minister about the Mach incident. The interior minister said it was an unfortunate incident.