Quetta (Balochistan) [Pakistan], January 9 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who on Saturday met bereaved families of 11 Hazara coal miners killed in January 3 terrorist attack, talked about his ambitions to play a role in issues concerning some Muslim countries and said his aim is to end Shia-Sunni discord in the world. He also said his government was trying to reduce tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
"I aim to end the Shia-Sunni discord throughout the world... look how our government is trying to thaw tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran," he said, according to Express Tribune.
Khan, who had told Hazara protestors not to blackmail him, said on Saturday that a Prime Minister has a lot of issues to deal with.
"A premier has a lot of matters to deal with as compared to the common man," he said, according to Geo News.
While families of the slain miners shared their grief with the prime minister, he praised his government, accused India and also defended his late visit.
"When I wasn't prime minister, I had visited you. But when you keep conditions, then it becomes a precedent. Today Imran Khan is the prime minister, tomorrow someone else will be," Geo News quoted Khan as saying.
Khan was widely criticised on social media as he suggested amidst countrywide protests and rising political pressure that the protesters were "blackmailing" him by refusing to bury their loved ones until he visits them.
The Pakistan premier said that he wants to categorically state that the whole while he was "completely" in touch with his ministers and the security forces and sought updates on the sit-in. "I want to say again, not only I, but the whole country was sharing your sorrow."
"We will try our utmost to root out this element that creates divide in our country and spreads hatred," he said.
On Sunday, unidentified gunmen stormed into a coal mine in Mach town near Quetta, pulling out ethnic Hazaras, members of Pakistan's Shia minority community, from their homes and open firing on them. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Shia community had been protesting against the killing of miners from the last six days.
The relatives of those killed had placed their coffins on a highway in Quetta and refused to bury the dead until the killers are apprehended and Khan comes to meet them.
He had turned down their demand and said he would not be blackmailed. He asked protestors to first bury their dead only then he will visit them.
On Saturday, the Shia community agreed to bury the remains of miners. Khan finally met them later in the day after keeping them waiting for six days.
The authorities in Pakistan on Friday promised the arrest of the attackers, payment of compensation to the bereaved families and better security for the Hazara community.
Pakistan opposition parties have condemned Imran Khan for his remarks, calling him a 'stone-hearted man'.
In a tweet, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: "The man (Imran Khan) who has become prime minister with the blessings of a few generals can never feel the pain of the masses. The oppressed people of the Hazara community are waiting for the man who is calling them 'blackmailers'."
The Baloch Republican Party said that Imran Khan government is deliberately turning a deaf ear to the voices of Balochs, Hazaras, Sindhis and minorities
BRP spokesperson Sher Mohammad Bugti said in a tweet that the latest case of brutal killing of 11 Hazaras is another testimony to the lawlessness and persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
"Imran Khan govt is deliberately turning a deaf ear to the voices of Balochs, Hazaras, Sindhis and minorities who just seek a peaceful life with dignity," he said. (ANI)