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January 6, 2021

Hazaras want PM Imran Khan in Quetta

Top Story

January 6, 2021

QUETTA: Top-level negotiations continued between the government emissaries and leaders of the Hazara protesters here till 2am with the government requesting that the dead are buried and the protesters asking for Prime Minister Imran Khan to come to console them before any burials. 

The government side was represented by Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Adviser to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari and NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri. They promised the protesters’ representatives that Prime Minister Khan would come to meet the relatives of the slain coal miners soon. They requested that the dead bodies must not be publicly displayed any longer and be buried as soon as possible.

The protesters again demanded that the prime minister come to Quetta, sit with the relatives of the dead and promise them that the culprits would be caught and punished. "We are requesting the prime minister as children would ask for help from their father when in pain and misery. He is like our father and he should come here not as the head of the government but as a father to console with his children," said Ali Hasnain, one of the leading representative of the protesting Hazaras.

Eleven colliers were killed and four others seriously injured after armed men Sunday opened fire at them at the Machh coal field in Bolan district of Balochistan.

Police said armed men took the coal miners to nearby mountains where they shot them. At least 11 were confirmed dead. The injured are said to be in critical condition.

The bodies of the deceased have been placed on the Quetta-Sibi Highway (Western Bypass) near the Hazara Town blocking traffic.

A large group of women and children could be seen at the protest, holding the photographs of their loved ones killed in the tragic incident.

"We will not end our protest until the arrest of all the assassins," chief of Balochistan Shia Conference Agha Daud said while talking to reporters.

"The latest wave of killings will spread to other cities, including Quetta, if a decisive action is not taken at this stage," he added.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove also visited the protesters' camp along with other provincial ministers.

"It is our demand that the prime minister come to Quetta and meet us personally," said Agha Syed Muhammad Raza, a representative of the Hazara committee.

"Those who killed our people and their abettors must be brought to justice," he added.

Balochistan Minister for Finance Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi said, "We have come to you before and will continue to come and support you."

The traders association of Balochistan, led by Muhammad Rahim Kakar, also visited the camp to meet with the protesters.

The association has announced a city-wide shutter-down strike on Thursday.

Protests were also held in Karachi and Gilgit in support of the community.

To address their demands, Minister for Interior Shaikh Rashid met with the group on Monday.

The minister said he was ready to accept all the demands of Hazara community except the resignation of the Balochistan government.

He announced Rs2.5 million compensation for the families of each of the deceased coal miner.

“Each family of the martyrs will be given Rs1 million by the prime minister, while Rs1.5 million will be given by the Balochistan chief minister,” he told the media.

After his return to the capital on Tuesday, the minister briefed the premier about his visit and the demands made by the Hazara leaders.