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Balochistan CM urges Hazara mourners to bury slain coal miners

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QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan  has once again appealed to the mourners of the Machh tragedy to bury the slain coal miners.

“The religious obligations may not be held back,” he wrote on Twitter. “I request you all again.”

Thousands of mourners, including women and children, have blockaded the Western Bypass for the past five days in extremely cold weather, protesting against the Machh tragedy wherein 11 miners were kidnapped before dawn on January 3 as they slept near a remote coal mine some 60 kilometres southeast of Quetta city and shot to death.

Security officials who did not want to be named told AFP that the attackers first separated the miners before tying their hands and feet and taking them into the hills to kill them.

The members of the Hazara community have refused to bury the slain coal miners until Prime Minister Imran Khan personally meets the mourners.

Negotiations

On Wednesday, fourth day of the protest, CM Jam Kamal Khan visited the protest camp and Imambargah Wali Asr in Hazara Town  and urged demonstrators to end the sit-in.

A night before that, the prime minister’s aide Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari arrived in Quetta with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi to hold talks with the members of the Hazara community.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed had also visited the city on Monday and held meetings with the Hazara community leaders and provincial government officials. He announced a compensation of Rs2.5 million for the families of the slain coal miners.

PM Imran Khan to visit ‘soon’

PM Imran Khan reassured the Hazara families that he was cognisant of their sufferings and demands and urged them to bury the dead in a tweet on Wednesday.

“I share your pain and have come to you before also to stand with you in your time of suffering,” he wrote. “I will come again very soon to offer prayers and condole with all the families personally. I will never betray my people’s trust.”

Bilawal, Maryam head to Quetta

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N vice-president Maryam announced that they would be visiting Quetta today to offer condolences to the affected families.

Bilawal said he was trying to reach Quetta with Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah and former premier Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani but they had to off-load from the plane as the engine would not start. “Trying to make other arrangement,” he wrote.

The PPP chairman said PM Imran Khan must accept the demands of the victims’ families.

Meanwhile, Maryam also left for Quetta from her Jati Umra residence. “A premier is like a father figure for the country. But this government is showing indifference,” she told reporters. “I am going to Quetta with my father’s [Nawaz Sharif] message to the victims of the Machh tragedy.”

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