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Hazara coal miners executed in Machh laid to rest in Quetta

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QUETTA: The slain coal miners of Machh have been laid to rest almost a week after their mourning families staged sit-ins across Quetta demanding resignations from the Balochistan government and a visit from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The miners were buried in the Hazara Town graveyard.

A large number of people gathered for the burial of the miners.

Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen leader Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and other Hazara leaders were at the cemetery.

National Assembly Qasim Suri Deputy Speaker and Special Assistant to the PM Zulfi Bukhari, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langau, provincial minister Mir Arif Jan Mohammad and other government officials also attended the funeral prayers.

MWM’s Allama Hashim Mousavi offered the funeral prayers of the miners.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, too, has reached Quetta to condole with the Hazaras.

 Quetta sit-in ends after government, protesters reach consensus

The federal government and the protesting Hazaras reached a consensus late Friday and the latter decided to end their sit-in. The protesters agreed to bury the slain coal miners.

Thousands of Hazara protesters, including women and children, had staged a sit-in at the Western Bypass in extremely cold weather for the last six days against the brutal execution of 10 Hazara coal miners in Machh.

Meanwhile, speaking to the protesters on the occasion, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said that such “incidents of violence must now come to an end.”

The minister, who had spearheaded talks on behalf of the government, said that a written agreement had been signed with the Shuhda Action Committee.

“No such written accord has ever been struck before with any other government in power,” he said.

‘Difficult demands’

“The demands put before us were difficult,” said Zaidi, adding that the decision to remove some officers has also been taken.

The minister said that if governance in Pakistan “had not been so poor, poverty like this would not have existed”.

“People would not have been massacred like this,” he said, adding that “foreign elements wish to create sectarian division in Pakistan.”

Zaidi also announced scholarships on behalf of his ministry for the children of all the victims.

Moreover, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said that he was thankful to the people for ending their protest, adding that no system could prosper where “oppression” existed.

The chief minister, stressing that the city and the province belonged to the people, maintained that it is the government’s responsibility to provide safety and security to the citizens.

The chief minister said that the government aimed at a “prosperous Balochistan” and that his team was striving for it.

The chief minister also stated that the recent episode should serve as a “learning lesson for the rulers of the country,” adding that the “demands met today should have been met without this sit-in.”

“It isn’t necessary that a sit-in takes place, every government should meet these requirements,” he said.

Concluding his address, the chief minister apologised to the protesters, saying that he was sorry for the inconvenience caused to them. He added that he “felt no shame in apologising to his people.”

The Machh massacre

Ten colliers were killed and four others were seriously injured on Sunday after armed men attacked them at a coal field in Balochistan’s Bolan district.

The coal miners, according to police, were taken to nearby mountains where they were shot.

According to AFP, the 10 miners were kidnapped before dawn on Sunday as they slept near the remote coal mine in the southwestern mountainous Machh area — 60 kilometres southeast of Quetta city, local government official Abid Saleem said.

Security officials who did not want to be named told AFP the attackers first separated the miners before tying their hands and feet and taking them into the hills to kill them. Most were shot, however, some were beheaded, said officials who did not want to be named.

Officials on Monday clarified ten people had died in the attack, revising a previous death toll of 11, AFP reported.

The militant group Daesh claimed the attack, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors militant activities worldwide.

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