Sit-ins being held in different parts of Karachi to express solidarity with the families of the victims of the massacre in Balochistan’s Machh area were called off after successful talks were held between the federal government and the protesters encamped in Quetta.
Eleven miners belonging to the Shia Hazara community had been brutally murdered before dawn on January 3 while they were asleep near a remote coal mine in the mountainous area of Machh. The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bereaved families had been refusing to bury their dead in protest, demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan pay them a visit. To express solidarity with them, the Hazara community and Shia groups, particularly the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), had organised protest sit-ins at some 30 spots across Karachi.
After a late-night breakthrough in Quetta, however, calls were issued for the Karachi protesters to end their sit-ins. After the MWM issued the call, protesters started dispersing from the main dharna held at Numaish.
Other sit-ins were held at Kamran Chowrangi, Airport to Natha Khan, Shah Faisal Colony, Gulistan-e-Jauhar Morr to Jauhar Chowrangi and Safoora Chowrangi, Malir 15 to Quaidabad, Khuda Ki Basti, Surjani and Steel Town Chowrangi, Ibrahim Hyderi and Korangi, Nipa Bridge, Power House Chowrangi, Safari Park, Nazimabad Five-Star Chowrangi, Gulberg, Ancholi, Azizabad Islamic Research Centre Imambargah, Nazimabad Board Office and Nazimabad Chowrangi.
Multiple major thoroughfares across the city had been blocked for the sit-ins, which resulted in not only massive traffic jams but also clashes between commuters and the protesters.
At the end of the city-wide protest, MWM chief Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jaffri thanked the entire nation, particularly the people of Karachi, for participating in the peaceful sit-ins against the massacre. “The people of Pakistan understand the pain of the oppressed and the plight of the oppressed.”
He lamented that no one listens in this country unless the oppressed voice their concerns. He said that the patriotic and civilised manner in which the people recorded their protest in sit-ins across Pakistan is unprecedented in the country’s history.
MWM Sindh General Secretary Allama Baqir Abbas Zaidi said that the performance of the law enforcement agencies, including the police and Rangers, in the protests had been commendable. “I’m also grateful to the political and religious parties for coming to show solidarity with the victims’ families.”
A group of Hazara community members who had held a sit-in near the Governor House on Friday night also called off their protest late in the night.
The protesters, who had gathered from various Hazarewal-populated localities such as Hussain Hazara Goth and Manghopir, shouted slogans against the government’s failure to arrest the terrorists who had been targeting the Hazara community for years. They also expressed their anger over the PM’s “insensitive statement”.