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Web Desk
January 9, 2021

Govt, protesters reach consensus; Quetta sit-in ends and bodies to be buried

Web Desk
Sat, Jan 09, 2021
Federal minister Ali Zaidi addressing the protesters at the Quetta sit-in, on January 09, 2021. — YouTube 

The federal government and the protesting Hazara community reached a consensus late Friday and the latter decided to end their sit-in. The protesters have also agreed to bury the slain coal miners.

Thousands of Hazara protesters, including women and children, had staged a sit-in at the Western Bypass in extremely cold weather for the last six days against the brutal execution of 10 Hazara coal miners in Machh.

Meanwhile, speaking to the protesters on the occasion, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said that such "incidents of violence must now come to an end."

The minister, who had spearheaded talks on behalf of the government, said that a written agreement had been signed with the Shuhda Action Committee.

"No such written accord has ever been struck before with any other government in power," he said.

'Difficult demands'

"The demands put before us were difficult," said Zaidi, adding that the decision to remove some officers has also been taken.

The minister said that if governance in Pakistan "had not been so poor, poverty like this would not have existed".

"People would not have been massacred like this," he said, adding that "foreign elements wish to create sectarian division in Pakistan."

Zaidi also announced scholarships on behalf of his ministry for the children of all the victims. 

Moreover, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said that he was thankful to the people for ending their protest, adding that no system could prosper where "oppression"  existed.

Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan addressing the protester at the Quetta sit-in, on January 09, 2021. — YouTube 

The chief minister, stressing that the city and the province belonged to the people, maintained that it is the government's responsibility to provide safety and security to the citizens.

The chief minister said that the government aimed at a "prosperous Balochistan" and that his team was striving for it.

The chief minister also stated that the recent episode should serve as a "learning lesson for the rulers of the country," adding that the "demands met today should have been met without this sit-in."

"It isn't necessary that a sit-in takes place, every government should meet these requirements," he said.

Concluding his address, the chief minister apologised to the protesters, saying that he was sorry for the inconvenience caused to them. He added that he "felt no shame in apologising to his people."

PM Imran Khan, army chief to meet families

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri said that as soon as the bodies of the deceased are buried, PM Imran Khan and the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa would reach Quetta to condole the affected families.

The deputy speaker added that the protests across the country would end.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Model Town Zeeshan Ranjha said that the sit-in in Lahore had come to an end following successful talks with the protesters.

Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen has announced to end the sit-in at Chungi Amar Sadhu, Ranjha announced.

Furthermore, the protest at Islamabad's D-Chowk also came to an end, after the Quetta sit-in concluded.

Similarly, the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen has announced to end the sit-in Karachi as well.

The incident

Ten colliers were killed and four others were seriously injured on Sunday after armed men attacked them at a coal field in Balochistan's Bolan district.

The coal miners, according to police, were taken to nearby mountains where they were shot.

According to AFP, the 10 miners were kidnapped before dawn on Sunday as they slept near the remote coal mine in the southwestern mountainous Machh area — 60 kilometres southeast of Quetta city, local government official Abid Saleem said.

Security officials who did not want to be named told AFP the attackers first separated the miners before tying their hands and feet and taking them into the hills to kill them. Most were shot, however, some were beheaded, said officials who did not want to be named.

Officials on Monday clarified ten people had died in the attack, revising a previous death toll of 11, AFP reported.

The militant group Daesh claimed the attack, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors militant activities worldwide.