QUETTA - At least six coalminers hailing from Shia Hazara community were gunned down and another wounded, in Machh area of Bolan district, some 40 kilometres southeast of provincial capital Quetta, on Friday.
According to Levies officials, the coalminers belonging to Shia Hazara community had gone to Machh bazaar for purchasing eating stuff and were on their way back when armed men opened indiscriminate fire on their vehicle at Pindar-gad area.
Resultantly, six people were killed immediately and another wounded in the attack. The assailants, however, swiftly fled from the area after committing the crime. Levies officials and security forces reached the spot soon after the incident and cordoned off the area and the deceased and injured were shifted to hospital in Quetta.
Talking to media, Bolan Deputy Commissioner Waheed Shahd said that deceased were labourers in coalmine and belonged to Shia Hazara community. The deceased were identified as Asif, Zamin, Ali Nigar, Haqeel, Mistari and Ibrahim while the injured person is Juma Khan and his condition is said to be serious.
A Levies official said that the deceased had come Machh bazaar for purchasing daily items and were ambushed when they were returning back to their home. “Initiate reports suggest the incident appears to be a case of sectarian killing,” Levies official added.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack till filing this report. A case has been registered against unidentified people and further investigations were underway. Members of Hazara community are also living in Machh area of Bolan district where they work in coalmines.
Meanwhile, terming the deteriorating law and order a failure of the security agencies, Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai has said that they will have to devise a new strategy to cope with this issue.
Talking to media persons after attending a conference organised by Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences (BUITMS) on Friday, he said the provincial and federal governments were collectively taking steps to improve law and order in the province.
“The federal government is extending every possible help to Balochistan for addressing all issues, including law and order,” he added. The governor regretted that the situation had drastically changed in Balochistan as previously Quetta used to be a peaceful city where people lived peacefully, but now a lot of things had changed. He said that due to the poor law and order situation, a number of people had migrated to other provinces from Balochistan, but they wanted to come back.
HRCP CONCERNED AT ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES
Expressing uneasiness over enforced disappearances, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Balochistan chapter, has demanded the government become a signatory to the international convention against enforced disappearances.
Addressing a press conference at Quetta Press Club, HRCP Balochistan head Tahir Hussain advocate, flanked by Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani advocate, Dr Faiz Hashmi and others, said, “It is the responsibility of the government to take concrete steps for the improvement of law and order and revive the sense of security among the masses. He regretted that the incidents of bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom and recovery of decomposed bodies continued in the province. “Besides members of minorities, doctors, engineers and professors, political and tribal leaders like Arbab Abduz Zahir Kasi are also being kidnapped,” he added.
He pointed out that 24 incidents of kidnapping of doctors had occurred in the province while 18 doctors had been killed and more than 80 others had left the province. “Traders and other people are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in the province,” he said, adding that kidnapping of Dr Abdul Manaf Tareen and Awami National Party leader Arbab Abduz Zahir Kasi had doubled the anxiety among the people. Referring to missing persons’ issue, Hussain lamented that the incidents of enforced disappearances were increasing.
“The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) has started a long march from Quetta to Karachi in which women and children are also participating,” he said, urging the govt to take steps for their security.
He said the government had not taken steps to address the issue of missing persons, so the incidents of enforced disappearances were increasing. “The government should sign the international convention against enforced disappearances,” he reiterated.
The HRCP leader also drew the attention of the government towards the miserable condition of the earthquake victims of Balochistan and said people were migrating from the area after not getting aid. The provincial and federal governments should demonstrate seriousness in helping the earthquake victims, he stressed.
He also regretted that due to the poor law and order situation in the province, unemployment was increasing, so the government should take steps on priority basis to revitalise the sense of security among the masses