Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Pakistani Hazara Families Refuse to Bury Dead after Attack

Pakistani Hazara Families Refuse to Bury Dead after Attack

Islamabad– Hundreds of members of Pakistan’s ethnic Hazara community have held a protest against the killing of 10 coal miners in a targeted attack in the southwestern province of Balochistan, refusing to bury their dead until the government meets their demands.
Protesters gathered on a highway in the western part of the provincial capital of Quetta on Monday to protest against the killing of the miners a day earlier, the coffins of their relatives laid out on the ground before them.
“He was the son of my aunt, what was his crime? Someone tell me his crime, for God’s sake, someone just tell me what fault he committed?” cried out Masooma Bibi, whose brother and cousin were killed in the attack.
Unidentified gunmen stormed a coal mine near the town of Mach, about 50km east of Quetta, on Sunday, pulling out ethnic Hazaras – who are members of the country’s minority Shia community and have distinctive facial features – from their residential quarters.
They then marched them to the nearby mountains where they opened fire on them, killing several people, Moazzam Ali Jatoi, a local security official, told news agencies on Sunday.
Senior security official Hafiz Abdul Basit confirmed to Al Jazeera on Monday that 10 people had been killed in the attack, contradicting earlier reports by news agencies and the prime minister’s office that put the death toll at 11.
Armed group ISIL (or ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on the group’s Amaq news service. A picture accompanying the claim showed two armed men standing over three bodies lying face down on the ground, with an ISIL flag hanging in the background.
Ethnic Hazaras in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest but least populated and poorest province, have long been persecuted for their faith, facing targeted attacks and large-scale bombings that have killed hundreds in the last two decades.
Most Hazaras in Balochistan live in Quetta, a city of about 1.1 million people that is the capital of Balochistan province. The city is home to an estimated 500,000 Hazaras, most of whom live in two heavily guarded enclaves on either end of the city, Hazara Town and Alamdar Road.
Both enclaves are surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, with security personnel heavily restricting entry to non-Hazaras. The government says it can guarantee members of the community’s safety within the walls of the enclave, but that they remain at risk if they leave. (Aljazeera)