Ten coal miners from the Hazara community, who were killed brutally in an attack on January 3, were laid to rest at Quetta’s Hazara Town cemetery on Saturday.
Funeral prayers for the coal miners were offered earlier today after the deadlock between the government and the protesters came to an end a few hours ago.
The prayers were led by Allama Raja Nasir Abbas in Quetta’s Hazara Town with close to 5,000 people attending including the relatives and friends of the deceased, locals and residents of the area.
Federal Maritime Minister Ali Zaidi, Special Assistant to the PM Zulfi Bukhari, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, Provincial Home Minister Mir Zia Langove and other provincial ministers and civil society leaders were also present on the occasion.
A prayer service will be held in imambargah Wali Asr after the burials at the Hazara Town Cemetery.
The protestors, who had earlier refused to bury the deceased unless Prime Minister Imran Khan visited them and addressed their concerns, continuing to stay on the road alongside the dead bodies of their loved ones for six days, eventually agreed to bury the deceased after negotiations with a government team succeeded in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to reach Quetta today and meet with the bereaved families. Balochistan CM Jam Kamal and Suri had announced yesterday that the premier will reach Quetta after the miners’ burials.
Eleven miners were brutally massacred on Sunday, Jan 3, when armed assailants entered their residential compound in the Mach coalfield area of Balochistan where they were sleeping, blindfolded and trussed them up before executing them. The militant Islamic State (IS) group, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Relatives and residents started their protest on the same day, arranging the coffins on the Western Bypass on the outskirts of Quetta and refusing to bury them in a symbolic gesture until the prime minister’s visit and assurance of protection.
The protests later spread to other parts of the country, including Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi, where demonstrators blocked several important roads, disrupting traffic.
Soon after talks succeeded between the protesters and government, an announcement was made to end the protest in Quetta, while similar messages were played at gatherings in other cities as well.