Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Quetta on Saturday to meet the relatives of victims of terror attack in which 11 Hazara coal miners were brutally murdered last week in Machh, Balochistan. Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Quetta on Saturday to meet the relatives of victims of terror attack in which 11 Hazara coal miners were brutally murdered last week in Machh, Balochistan.

The slain miners were laid to rest at the city’s Hazara Town cemetery after six days of protest by the families who refused to bury their dead until the prime minister visits them to personally promise justice.

Khan met the bereaved families of Machh attack victims and assured them justice will be served. He also informed them about the steps taken by the government to ensure the protection of the minority community. The government will provide Rs2.5 million ($15,560) as compensation to the family of each victim.

Khan also chaired a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation in the province following the tragic incident. Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, Governor Balochistan Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and other officials attended the meeting.

The premier’s visit comes after sharp criticism from the public and the opposition parties for delaying the visit to Quetta over “security reasons” and insensitive remarks.

Protests called off

Protests over the killing of Shia Hazara workers ended on the sixth day as the families on early Saturday morning announced the burial after successful talks and agreement reached between the Hazara community and the government, officials said.

The funeral prayers offered in Quetta on Saturday, were also attended by Federal Maritime Minister Ali Zaidi, Special Assistant to PM Zulfi Bukhari, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, alongside thousands of other mourners. Minister Ali Zaidi promised the Hazara community that the terrorists behind the Machh incident “would not be spared at any cost”, adding that “all demands of Hazara community have been accepted by the government.”

According to the agreement, a high-level commission will investigate the Machh incident as well as other militant attacks against the ethnic community and expedite the punishment of those arrested in acts of terrorism. Besides the monetary compensation, the government will also provide jobs and scholarships to families.

Freezing cold

Under the agreement, the provincial government and other law enforcement agencies would improve security in the region. The government will also address the issues faced by the community related to the issuance of national identity cards and passports.

Thousands of protesters from the Shia Hazara minority community staged a protest in freezing cold in Quetta with the dead bodies of the workers for nearly a week with similar protests in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, demanding that the killers were brought to justice.

Eleven miners were massacred on January 3 when armed assailants attacked their residential compound in the Mach area of Balochistan. Terror group Daesh (ISIS) later claimed the brutal attack.