- Talks between grieving families and interior minister failed
- Mourners refuse to bury their slain relatives until demands met
- Sheikh Rashid offers Rs.2.5m compensation to each family
- 11 coal miners were heinously slaughtered not shot dead
- Tragedy is stated as religious hatred, all victims were Shia
Nation special report
QUETTA: Heinous and cold-blooded murder of eleven coal miners belonging to the Shia Hazara community in Mach (Balochistan) has developed very alarming and threatening situation since the members of the grieved families and community have refused to bury the dead bodies until the inhumane culprits are not arrested and justice is properly done.
Talks between Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and grieving Hazara community in Balochistan have failed and the sit-in staged by relatives of the slain miners on Western Bypass continues on the third consecutive day on Tuesday. The protesters have demanded arrests of the suspects involved in the gruesome killings of 11 coal miners that took place in early hours of Sunday morning in Mach area.
While expressing his regret and condolence, Prime Minister Imran Khan despatched Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid to pacify the grieved families and rest of community of Hazara tribe but despite his best efforts, the federal minister could not make them agree to abandon their mourning protest and let the relatives bury their murdered loved ones.
Sheikh Rashid assured them that the government was ready to accept all their demands except the one seeking the resignation of the provincial government and urged them to call off their protest so that the bodies could be laid to rest. His all efforts went in vain and now he will discuss the overall situation with prime minister seeking his new instructions.
Thousands of people including women and children are sitting in protest at the western bypass area close to Hazara town in severe cold and refused to call off the protest, demanding ouster of the government and a judicial probe into the tragedy.
Sheikh Rashid assured the protesting community that the elements involved in the gruesome act would be brought to justice. He held details talks with the representatives of the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM), and announced that Rs2.5 million would be paid to each victim family as compensation. He condemned the incident and said: “I feel very sorry over the happening of Mach carnage.”
He said that the demands of the Hazara community would be conveyed to the prime minister. He asked the MWM leaders to form a five to seven members committee for a meeting with the prime minister in Islamabad.
According to official sources, the bodies of two coal miners were sent to Afghanistan. “The family members have taken away the two bodies for their burial in their native town in Afghanistan,” said an MWM leader.
Coal miners slaughtered
Sofar, it was stated that the militants fired from very close range but now it is disclosed that the militants attacked a room where the miners were
sleeping, held them at gunpoint, blindfolded and trussed up. They all were slaughtered with sharp weapons. They cut their throats, hands and legs and during this heinous act, made the films which later posted on social media.
A well-known lawyer of Hazara community in Quetta, Tahir Hussain advocate revealed the details of this monstrous act during an interview with journalist Irfan Khan at Urdu Service, Voice of Germany on Monday. He furnished the history of victimization of Hazara nation and said the members of his nation are being suffered just on the basis of their particular faith Shia Maslak. The attackers were of different faith of Sunni friction which is in majority in Pakistan.
“Not a single fire was shot and all eleven coal miners were slaughtered by sharp weapons”, Tahir Hussain confirmed. The gruesome attack that took place in the mountainous Bolan district, some 100km from Quetta in the early hours on Sunday morning, sparked street protests and drew nationwide condemnation.
Daesh accepts responsibility
The militant Islamic State group or Daesh claimed responsibility for the killing. Their admission of ghastly act raises questions on presence of Daesh in Pakistan.
The victims were identified as Aziz Raza, Mohammad Nazim, Abdul Rahim, Anwar Ali, Sher Mohammad, Ahmed Shah, Muhammad Sadiq, Chaman Ali, Hussain Jan, Asif Ali and Abdullah, all residents of Quetta’s Hazara Town.
Sources said they were staying at a mud room near the mine where they worked in Mach Town, which is known for coal mining. However, a senior official of the provincial government said: “At least nine of the Hazara victims belong to Afghanistan.”
The sources said a group of armed men had reached the Gishkery area of coal field on the outskirts of Mach town in the wee hours of Sunday morning and barged into the mud room, where the workers were sleeping. They held all the miners at gunpoint, tied their hands behind their back and blindfolded them before killing them. It is stated that the throats of all the victims had been slit and three of them also sustained bullet wounds. Bodies of those three workers were found outside the room, while others were found lying in a pool of blood in their room.
While going to work in the morning, some miners who live at some distance from the murder site saw the three bodies outside the room and informed the local administration. Subsequently, heavy contingent of Levies and Frontier Corps rushed to the site along with Mach Assistant Commissioner Sami Agha and other senior officials.
Officials said all the bodies were shifted to state-run hospital in Mach by the rescue workers and security forces. “The throats of all the bodies were slit and a few also had bullet wounds on their bodies,” said the doctor after examining the bodies. The doctor also confirmed that no wounded was brought to the hospital.
Though the death toll was stated to be 11, some Mach administration officials said the death toll was 10, with four injured. But doctors confirmed that no injured had been brought to any hospital in Quetta and Mach.
As soon as the news of the tragedy spread, a large number of people, including women, from the Hazara community took to the streets near Hazara town. They also blocked traffic on the western bypass by placing torched tyres and rocks on it. At the same time, people from the Hazara community working at the coal mines blocked traffic on the Quetta-Sukkur highway that links Quetta with Sindh. The protesters did not allow the local administration officials to shift bodies to Quetta.
Prime Minister Imran Khan while terming it ‘yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism’ ordered the Frontier Corps to use all resources to bring the killers to justice and assured families of the victims that they would not be left abandoned by the government.