QUETTA: Despite efforts made by the federal and provincial authorities, thousands of mourners belonging to the Shia Hazara community, who have blockaded a highway here with the bodies of slain coal miners, have refused to end their sit-in which entered the third consecutive day on Tuesday.
Even extremely cold weather could not force the protesters, including women and children, to leave the Western Bypass area. They are protesting over the cold-blood killing of 11 coal miners in the Mach area early Sunday morning.
“We will not call off our sit-in and bury our loved ones until Prime Minister Imran Khan personally meets the mourners,” Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) leader Syed Agha Raza said, adding that the mourners would not compromise on the blood of the coal miners.
Demand arrest of coal miners’ killers, visit by PM, removal of Balochistan govt
He said that the families of the deceased were not ready to bury their loved ones until the arrest of the perpetrators of the heinous crime and removal of the Balochistan coalition government headed by Jam Kamal Khan Alyani.
On the other hand, Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Ali Shahwani has termed the demand for resignation of the provincial government unjustified and said that after the Balochistan Awami Party and its allies came to power, terrorist attacks on Hazara people and other subversive activities in the province had reduced to great extent.
“Suicide attacks and other incidents of terrorism have decreased by 80 per cent in the province,” he said while talking to Dawn. He said it was the provincial government which had taken concrete steps and provided secure atmosphere to the people of Hazara community in Quetta.
“They were earlier restricted to Hazara Town and another locality. But now they are free to move anywhere and even they are seen enjoying at picnic points,” Mr Shahwani said.
Security forces and law enforcement agencies were taking all possible steps for the arrest of those involved in the Mach incident, he said.
Meanwhile, provincial ministers Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind, Ziaullah Langove and Mobeen Khilji held talks with the mourners and tried to convince them to call off their protest and bury the dead, but the latter refused to do so.
In a late-night development, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari arrived here aboard a special plane.
According to sources, they arrived in the provincial capital on the directives of the prime minister to hold talks with the protesters. Prime Minister Khan was expected to reach Quetta for a meeting with the leaders of Hazara community, the sources added.
Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2021