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Families of slain coal miners refuse to bury their dead

Islamabad: Families of the coal miners who were brutally murdered on Sunday in the Mach region of Balochistan refuse to bury the bodies and demanded the arrest of the attackers.

Protesters continued their sit-in on Monday in the western bypass area along with the coffins.

The Pakistan government sent Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to Quetta, who held negotiations with the grieving community.

Rashid assured them that the government would accept all their demands except the one seeking the resignation of the provincial government and requested them to call off their protest so that the bodies could be laid to rest.

The minority Shia Hazara community to which the victims belonged to however did not accede to his call.

They refused to leave the western bypass area or call off the protest, the protestors are demanding the ouster of the government and a judicial probe into the tragedy.

The Dawn reported that the protesters including women and children are continuing their peaceful agitation despite extremely harsh below freezing point weather conditions in the area.

Officials have confirmed that out of the 11 coal miners who were killed two dead bodies have been taken to Afghanistan for burial at their native places, however rest of the nine bodies have not been laid to rest yet.

Though the Hazara Jirga and leaders of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) had decided that funeral of the victims would take place on Monday, the leaders of Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) and families of the deceased disallowed the burial.

MWM’s Balochistan president Syed Agha Raza, who is leading the protests said that burial would not take place until demands of the community were met.

He 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,”.

Demanding the resignation of the provincial government Raza asked for a provincial Commission to be set up for looking into the incident.

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