Protesters blocked several key roads in Pakistan’s commercial hub Karachi on Wednesday after the killing of 11 Shia coal miners in the southwestern Balochistan province last week.
The protesters, including women and children, staged sit-ins, causing traffic jams on several major arteries in the port city, and making airlines reschedule their flights.
Belonging to ethnic Shia Hazara community, the coal miners were kidnapped and later killed on Sunday in a gruesome attack claimed by the Daesh terror group, also known as ISIS.
This was the latest in a slew of attacks on the Hazara community, which mainly reside in the outskirts of the provincial capital Quetta and have long been targeted by hardline Sunni militant groups. They are easily distinguishable by their facial features.
Meanwhile, the victims’ relatives and other members of the community continued their sit-in in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, demanding Prime Minister Imran Khan personally visit the bereaved families and assure them of the killers’ arrest.
Khan has sent several federal ministers, including Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, to woo the protesters and end the sit-in, but to no avail.
Assuring the protesters that he would soon visit the families to offer his condolences, he appealed: “Please bury your loved ones so their souls find peace.”
“I share your pain & have come to you before also to stand with you in your time of suffering. I will come again very soon to offer prayers and condole with all the families personally. I will never betray my people’s trust.” he said in a series of tweets.
“I want to reassure the Hazara families who lost their loved ones in a brutal terrorist attack in Machh that I am cognizant of their suffering & their demands. We are taking steps to prevent such attacks in the future & know our neighbor is instigating this sectarian terrorism,” he added in a thinly veiled reference to long-time nuclear rival India, with which it has traded accusations of sponsoring terrorism.
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