Terrorists in Pakistan abduct and kill 11 coal miners from minority Shia Hazara community

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Karachi, Jan 3 (PTI) Terrorists in Pakistan on Sunday abducted and shot dead 11 coal miners from the Shia Hazara community after separating them from others in the restive Balochistan province, the police said, in the latest targeted attack on the minority communities in the country.

The miners were shot dead from a close range shortly after being abducted by the armed terrorists in the province’s mountainous Machh area, the police said.

The 11 coal miners were going to work when they were abducted, according to senior police officials.

Six of the miners died on the spot while five succumbed on their way to a nearby hospital, the officials said.

Murtaza Jatoi, an official of the Balochistan Levies, said that the terrorists first carried out an identity parade of the miners before taking them away to execute them. Others were left unharmed.

The coal miners belonged to the minority Shia Hazara community, he said, adding that primary reports suggest that they were targeted for their faith.

In the past, members of the Shia Hazara community were frequently targeted by militant sectarian groups in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.

Quetta Deputy Commissioner Murad Kaas said that no group has claimed responsibility for the killings but a heavy contingent of police, Frontier Corps (FC) and district administration officials have reached the site after the incident.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the miners' killing, terming it 'yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism'.

'Have asked the FC to use all resources to apprehend these killers & bring them to justice. The families of the victims will not be left abandoned by the government,' he said in a tweet.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has condemned the incident and sought an inquiry report from the authorities concerned.

'Those who targeted these innocent coal miners do not deserve any concessions,' he said.

Hazaras are disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance, according to local media reports.

Balochistan has witnessed violence against Hazaras for more than a decade and half by militants who consider them as heretics.

The Hazaras are part of the Shia community who live in Balochistan and Afghanistan. They have been often targeted by the Sunni militants.

This is not the first time that the Hazaras have been targeted by extremist outfits in Balochistan. In the last few years, hundreds of Hazaras have been killed in either suicide bomb attacks, planted bomb blasts or target killings.

The province has been troubled for some time now with terrorists and militants from sectarian and separatist groups operating in the province and carrying out attacks on security forces, installations, the Shia Hazara community members or even labourers/workers from other provinces.

In October last year, 14 people including seven soldiers of the FC and seven private security guards were killed when militants ambushed a convoy of the state-run Oil and Gas Development Company Limited on the Makran Coastal Highway in Ormara.

Last month, security forces killed 10 terrorists during an operation in Awaran district.

In April 2019, there was a suicide bomb attack at a marketplace in a Hazara housing society in which at least 21 people including nine Hazaras and two security personnel were killed and scores injured.

The ISIS and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack. PTI CORR PMS CPS AKJ CPS