11 Shia Hazara coal miners killed by members of ISIS, thousands stage protest 

Despite harsh weather, thousands from Shia Hazara community continued to protest, refusing to bury the dead while demanding justice for the victims who were killed on Saturday

January 07, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Credit : Fazal Abbas (@FazalSamtiahPTI) via Twitter

On January 2, 11 coal miners belonging to the minority Shia Hazara community were abducted and killed. In the following days, thousands of people belonging to the community staged a sit-in protest near Quetta braving harsh cold weather. The protestors refused to inter the dead, demanding a visit from prime minister Imran Khan. The protestors have also demanded the resignation of the provincial government if they failed to arrest the killers and deliver justice.

While addressing the protesters, Syed Agha Raza, the president of Balochistan Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen, said, “We have staged a sit-in for the protection of the Hazara people who have been facing such killings since long and have become fed up with the situation,” WION News reported. Raza added they are tired of picking up the bodies of their loved ones.

According to the police video, the victims were blindfolded and taken to the mountain nearby and shot. ISIS, through its Amaq news agency, later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Another prominent Shiite leader, Daud Agha, blamed the government for negligence in protecting the minority Shia community of the country. He claimed that whenever any terror outfit attacks and kills Shia people, the government dispatches its representatives in order to pacify the anger and assure security. “We never got protection in the past. We want the arrest of the killers of our people,” Daud added.

The recent incident has brought back harsh memories of 2013, when more than 200 people of the Hazara community were killed in three bomb blasts in Quetta. Most recently in April 2020, a suicide bomb attack killed 18 people of which 9 were found to be Shia Hazara community members. The community has repeatedly faced prosecution at the hands of the extremists and terror organizations as they are followers of Shia Islam and hundreds of them have lost their lives in numerous attacks over the years.