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Friday Jan 08 2021
Web Desk

PM Imran Khan won't be insulted, will respect him more if he visits Quetta, say Hazara protesters

Web Desk
Mourners from the Hazara community gather near the coffins of miners who were killed in an attack by gunmen in the mountainous Machh area, during a sit-in protest at the Western Bypass, on the outskirts of Quetta, on January 4, 2021. Photo: AFP
  • Shia Hazaras continue their sit-in in Quetta to demand justice for the slain coal miners gunned down in Machh on January 3
  • Hazara committee members says Prime Minister Imran Khan will be given respect if he visits Quetta
  • "We are neither against the government nor with any political party," said a representative of the Hazara protesters

QUETTA: Respect for Prime Minister Imran Khan will increase if he visits Quetta, say the Hazaras protesting the execution of the coal miners in Machh on January 3 as the sit-ins enter the sixth day Friday.

Hazaras have staged a continuous sit-in in Quetta in freezing temperatures to demand justice for the coal miners gunned down in Machh last week.

The bodies of the deceased have been kept where the community is staging its demonstration on the Quetta-Sibi highway (Western Bypass), near the Hazara Town.

Read more: Hazaras refuse to bury coal miners until demands are met

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal had visited the protest camp of the Hazara families and urged them to bury the slain coal miners.

He had appealed to let go of the condition that they will only do so if Prime Minister Imran Khan visits them.

We are not against the government: Hazara protesters

The Hazara families are sitting here of their own free will, no one is pressurising them, said a representative of the Quetta Martyrs Action Committee, Agha Syed Muhammad Raza.

He said government officials visited Quetta and requested that the victims be buried soon.

Another member of the Hazara committee said they are neither against the government nor with any political party.

Read more: Armed men attack coal miners in Machh

“We have no personal interest. If the [affected] families want to continue their sit-in for a month, we are with them,” Amanullah said.

“Today is the sixth day of the sit-in. We are protesting peacefully,” said protester Allama Ali Hasnain.

“We are peaceful people, no one was harmed in the sit-ins,” Hasnain said, adding that when their dharna started, some people met them with excuses.

He said the sit-in may be disrupted in the coming days by conspiracies.

Raza said Prime Minister Imran Khan should visit Quetta. “Don't think that he [PM Khan] will be criticised. Respect for him will increase,” Raza said.

He said the sit-in would not be needed if the protesters' demands were addressed within 24 hours of the tragedy.

Hasnain said several people invited the Hazara protesters for a meeting.

Pictures may have been taken in the meetings, he said, adding that they have been given threats.

“It is possible that after a peaceful sit-in, anarchy will spread among us,” he said.

Read more: We live in a land where food is expensive, but blood comes cheap: Bilawal to Hazaras

The protester reiterated that they are not against the state and their demand is in accordance with the Constitution.

The ministers went back and said that if the Prime Minister came here, he would be insulted, Raza said, clarifying that this is not true.

If the Prime Minister comes, he will be given respect, he said.

Balochistan chief minister removes DC Kachhi, DPO from office

The Balochistan CM on Thursday ordered the removal of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kachhi as well as the District Police Officer (DPO) for their negligence which led to the Machh massacre.

According to a notification, the chief minister condemned the brutal killing on Sunday of 10 coal miners belonging to the Hazara community and expressed his strong disapproval of the negligent attitude shown towards their protection.

CM Jam Kamal Khan has also directed forces to ensure fool-proof security across the province so that such untoward incidents could be prevented in future.

The Chief Secretary of Balochistan has issued a notification, ordering the immediate removal of Deputy Commissioner Kachhi.