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Imran Khan Calls Hazara Mine Victims’ Kin ‘Blackmailers’ – Protests Amplify

Imran Khan Calls Hazara Mine Victims’ Kin ‘Blackmailers’ – Protests Amplify

The Muslim 500 - Imran Khan

The new year has not started too well for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Early Sunday morning, 11 coal miners, all residents of Quetta’s Hazara Town, were barbarically slain in Balochistan’s mountainous Bolan district in an attack claimed by the Sunni affiliated militant Islamic State (IS) group. It was reported that the men were asleep in their mudbrick dwelling close to the mine they worked at when the assailants burst in, held them at gunpoint, and bound and blindfolded them. Then, in an orgy of bestial violence, they slit the victims’ throats. Some bodies also bore gunshot wounds.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the massacre as “yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism” and ordered the Frontier Corps to apprehend the killers. Further, he assured the victims’ families that the government would not abandon them.

But even after five days, protests continue in Quetta. The families of the Hazara coal miners refuse to bury the bodies, demanding a visit by the Prime Minister, initiation of immediate action against IS and demanding measures to ensure the safety of the Shia Hazara community.

They have vowed that they are ready to continue their protest for 100 days if Khan does not accept their key demand. Earlier today, similar protests were also seen in Karachi.

But Imran Khan seems unhappy with the way things are unfolding. In a televised speech he said, “No premier of any country should be blackmailed like this.”

This comment has now gone viral and people are left wondering why the Prime Minister is choosing to stay away from meeting these people.

The state has long abandoned the Shia Hazaras who have been at the receiving end of many terror attacks. Believed to be of Mongol descent, their physical characteristics distinguish them from other ethnic groups in the area, which makes them all the more vulnerable to terrorist violence.

A visit by Imran Khan would obviously reassure them and show the IS that the government of Pakistan does not support any particular group in the country. But as the PM gets embroiled in the ever-continuing conflict between the Shias and the Sunnis, all the previous claims of political affiliations and preferences are bound to haunt Mr. Khan.

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