Several roads blocked as protests against Hazara killings continue in Karachi for 2nd day

Published January 6, 2021
People protesting against the killing of Shia Hazara miners in Balochistan earlier this week, block a road in Karachi on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
People protesting against the killing of Shia Hazara miners in Balochistan earlier this week, block a road in Karachi on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Protesters block a road in Karachi on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Protesters block a road in Karachi on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Several roads in Karachi were blocked on Wednesday as protests continued for a second day and spilled over to different areas of the metropolis against the killing of Shia Hazara miners in the Mach area of Balochistan earlier this week.

Television footage showed plumes of smoke rising as demonstrators took to the streets, burning tyres and wood and disrupting traffic.

According to a police update, today's protests, which were organised by the Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM), were happening at several places across the city, including Abbas Town, Abul Hasan Ispahani Road, Kamran Chowrangi at Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Power House Chowrangi in North Karachi, M. A. Jinnah Road, Sharea Faisal and Malir 15. One track of the Sharea Faisal was also closed for traffic, according to the update.

In another update, Karachi traffic police said the protests had spread to other areas of the city as well including Nipa Chowrangi. It said the road leading from Capri Cinema to Guru Mandir was closed for traffic and directed people to use the Soldier Bazaar route.

DIG Traffic Iqbal Dara along with other officials visited several areas of the city and oversaw efforts to keeping traffic flow undisrupted. He said a heavy contingent of traffic police officials was being posted in all locations across Karachi.

A day earlier, members of the Hazara community staged sit-ins in various parts of the city including Abbas Town, Numaish, and outside the Karachi Press Club.

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.

Holding red and green flags printed with "Ya Hussain", many other youngsters were seen holding placards which urged that "ethnic cleansing" of Hazaras be stopped.

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 gruesome attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

Since then, thousands of Hazaras have staged a protest, arranging the coffins in the western bypass area in Quetta while members of their community have also held protests in Karachi.

Editorial: The state has long abandoned the Shia Hazaras, nowhere in Balochistan are they safe

The MWM also held protests in the city on Tuesday that were attended by hundreds of people including men, women and children.

"If someone really is concerned about our security and tragedy we are facing, it must be reflected by their moves," said Maulana Sadiq Jaffery, senior leader of the MWM, while addressing the protesters at Numaish yesterday.

"It’s so unfortunate the presence of hundreds of women and children [in] chilling cold in Quetta has not inspired the authorities. These protesters want peace, not violence or bloodshed. So protest is the only option left for us to convey our concerns which will continue."

Along with the MWM, the Shia Ulema Council, Jafria Alliance, Imamia Students Organisation and Jafria Students Organisation also participated in the protest.

Hundreds of Hazara have been killed over the last decade in attacks, including bombings in schools and crowded markets and brazen ambushes of buses along roads.

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