Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday promised that he would visit them soon and urged the protesting members of Balochistan’s Shia Hazara community to bury the bodies of the miners killed in a brutal attack in Mach.
Thousands of Shia Hazaras have staged a protest along with coffins containing the miners’ bodies in the western bypass area in Quetta, while members of their community have also held protests in Karachi.
On Sunday, armed attackers slit the throats of 11 miners in a residential compound near a mine site in Balochistan’s Mach coalfield area, filming the entire incident and later posting it online. The horrible attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group.
Since then, protesters have said they will not bury the miners’ bodies until Prime Minister Imran visits them and the justice has been served, continuing their protest on Wednesday for a fourth continous day.
The premier said on Twitter that, “I want to reassure the Hazara families who lost their loved ones in a brutal terrorist attack in Machh that I am concerned of their suffering & their demands,”, adding that the government was taking steps to prevent such attacks in the future and knew that “our neighbor is instigating this sectarian terrorism.”
“I share your pain and have come to you before also to stand with you in your time of suffering. I will come again very soon to offer prayers and condole with all the families personally,” he said while addressing the mourning Hazaras.
“I will never betray my people’s trust. Please bury your loved ones so their souls find peace.”
Hashtags criticising Prime Minister Imran for not visiting the protesters and stressing ‘Hazara Lives Matter’ have been the top trends on Twitter in Pakistan during the last three days.
Responding to a question about the protesters’ demand for a visit by the premier, he said that “the biggest responsibility” lay with the Balochistan government.
Protests in Karachi
Several roads were blocked in Karachi on Wednesday as protesters took to the streets, burning tires and wood and disrupting traffic.
A day earlier, members of the Hazara community staged sit-in in various areas of the city including Abbas Town, Numaish, and outside the Karachi Press Club.
In another update, Karachi traffic police said the protests had spread to other areas of the city as well including Nipa Chowrangi.
Over 200 men, women, and children from the Hazara community had gathered at the KPC, demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa ensure the safety of their community.
Maryam appeals to bury the bodies
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz as well, appealed to the protesters to bury their loves ones, conveying her condolences in a tweet.
“My grieving mothers and sisters. This barbaric murder of your loved ones is not an ordinary tragedy. The whole nation shares your grief. I and my father are also very sad but you shouldn’t wait for a callous and stone-hearted person; he is not answerable to you or the nation,” she wrote, referring to Prime Minister Imran.