ISLAMABAD: Sectarian militant groups in Pakistan were the “worst outcome” of the Afghan Jihad in the 1980s and these groups are behind the attacks on the Hazara Shia community in Balochistan.
This was stated by Prime Minister Imran Khan while talking to a Turkish TV channel A News.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident. It stems from the legacy of the 1980s when the Afghan Jihad started in 80s, early 80s and when Pakistan participated in the Jihad, one of the worst outcomes of the Jihad was sectarianism in Pakistan.”
These groups are targeting the Hazara ethnic minority in Balochistan, Imran Khan opined, adding, The Hazara Shia community in Balochistan was targeted by these extremist sectarian groups, Sunni extremist groups.
The premier said that these groups have now “morphed with ISIS or Daesh”.
He revealed that he understands the pain of the Hazara community because he went to meet them as an opposition leader when they were targeted in the previous government’s tenure.
The premier termed as “unfortunate” and “terrible” the killing over the weekend of 11 Shia Hazara coal miners in Balochistan’s Mach area and the mob attack on a Hindu shrine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district last month. “We will assure minorities of complete support and protection,” he said.
The premier reiterated the government’s commitment to protect religious minorities, saying members of such communities are equal citizens of Pakistan and it is the state’s duty to ensure their safety.
Hazara protesters have been staging a sit-in at a highway near Quetta for the last four days and they have refused to bury their dead. The protesters say they won’t bury the victims until PM Khan arrives in Quetta and meets families of the slain coal miners.
In a tweet, PM Khan urged the families to bury their loved ones “so their souls find peace”. He assured them he will soon come to Quetta to personally condole with the families.
On January 3, at least 10 coal miners were executed by unidentified men in their sleeping room in the Machh coal field area. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State’s Wilayah Pakistan arm.
The militant group released a graphic image that showed two armed men standing next to the bodies of the coal miners. The black ISIS flag could also be seen in the picture.