Pakistan’s Shia Hazara community members blocked several roads in Balochistan’s capital city Quetta as they held protests against the massacre of 11 coal miners from the minority community by the Islamic State terrorists in the restive province, according to media reports on Monday.
The Hazara community members were joined by some political parties as they blocked several roads in the provincial capital, demanding the Balochistan government either arrest the terrorists responsible for the killing or resign, the Geo News reported.
Terrorists on Sunday abducted and shot dead the 11 coal miners after separating them from others, in the latest targeted attack on the minority communities in the country.
The miners were shot dead from a close range shortly after being abducted by the armed terrorists in the province’s mountainous Machh area. The Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attack.
Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) leader Syed Muhammad Agha Raza said Prime Minister Imran Khan should come to Quetta to meet them and reassure the families of the victims.
A traffic jam was reported at the thoroughfare from the Baleli checkpost to the intersection at Quetta’s Airport Road due to the protest, with dozens of vehicles stranded and passengers and transporters facing difficulties in travelling.
Various Hazara political parties and organisations held a meeting to discuss the Machh massacre and strategies going forward.
The government of Balochistan ruled out any security lapses and its spokesperson, Liaquat Shahwani, told the daily that the incident was an act of terrorism.
Prime Minister Khan condemned the miners’ killing, terming it “yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism”.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has sought an inquiry report from the authorities concerned.
According to police, the terrorists entered the two of the rooms the colliers resided in, kidnapped them and tied their hands and feet, and shot them dead near a mountainside.
Terrorist attacks are not uncommon in Balochistan but their frequency had reduced over the past few years.
Hazaras are disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance, according to local media reports.
Balochistan has witnessed violence against Hazaras for more than a decade and half by militants who consider them as heretics.
The Hazaras are part of the Shia community who live in Balochistan and Afghanistan. They have been often targeted by the Sunni militants.
This is not the first time that the Hazaras have been targeted by extremist outfits in Balochistan. In the last few years, hundreds of Hazaras have been killed in either suicide bomb attacks, planted bomb blasts or target killings.
The province has been troubled for some time now with terrorists and militants from sectarian and separatist groups operating in the province and carrying out attacks on security forces, installations, the Shia Hazara community members or even labourers/workers from other provinces.