Imran Khan reaches Quetta after burial of 11 slain Hazara coal miners

ANI
·2-min read
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Quetta (Balochistan) [Pakistan], January 9 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reached Quetta on Saturday, hours after 11 coal miners from Hazara community, who were brutally killed in the attack on January 3 were buried at the city's Hazara Town cemetery.

He is expected to meet the family of miners later today, Dawn reported. His visit comes a day after he accused grieving families of slain miners of 'blackmailing' him after they refused to bury the remains of the miners until Prime Minister Khan visits them.

Since the attack, the relatives of those killed had placed their coffins on a highway in Quetta and refused to bury the dead until the killers were apprehended and Khan came to meet them.

Khan had turned down their demand and said he cannot be blackmailed. He asked protestors to first bury their dead only then he will visit them.

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.

Following the deadly attack, protests erupted in the region with the kin of the victims refusing to bury the dead until the government meets their demands.

The protestors have held several rounds of negotiations with members of Khan's cabinet, including Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, but to no avail.

Pakistan authorities on Friday promised the arrest of the attackers, payment of compensation to the bereaved families and better security for the Hazara.

Khan was widely criticised on social media as amidst countrywide protests and rising political pressure, he suggested that the protesters were "blackmailing" him by refusing to bury their loved ones until he visits them, Dawn reported.

Pakistan opposition has also 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'."

Speaking at a press conference in Karachi, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif said Khan had admitted today that he was not going to Quetta because of his ego and stubbornness, reported Dawn.

"The nation wants to know what was the problem, which prevented you from going and putting your hand on their heads. If this was due to obedience (tabedari), then the nation wants to know is obedience more important than the people's lives?" she said. (ANI)