QUETTA: Gunmen mowed down six coal miners on Friday in a sectarian motivated attack in Mach town, about 90 kilometres from Quetta. Another miner was seriously wounded in the assault.
The coal miners were members of the Hazara community.
Waheed Shah, deputy commissioner in Kach district, said that the seven men were on their way back from Mach bazaar when they were attacked by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle.
“The victims were Hazara labourers and Shia Muslims,” confirmed Shah. “It is clearly a targeted killing on sectarian basis.”
Shah explained that every Friday the miners would go to the bazaar for grocery shopping. The crime scene was seven kilometres off the main highway. “The armed men opened fire at their vehicle just as they crossed a huge nulla,” Shah said, adding that the killers managed to flee.
The Balochistan Levies and other security forces reached the spot shortly after the incident, and immediately cordoned off the area.
The deceased were later identified as Ali Nigar, Zaamen, Hakeem, Bolan Misteri and Ibrahim.
“Their bodies have been sent to Quetta for burial while the injured miner, Juma Khan, is admitted at Combined Military Hospital Quetta,” a Levies official said. Khan is currently in a critical condition.
In the past, the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for similar attacks on Shias but, so far, no group has come forward to own this particular incident.
Last week, an attempt was made to blow up a convoy of buses carrying Shia pilgrims on the National Highway in Dringar, Mastung. Although the pilgrims remained unhurt, two Frontier Corps personnel died when an explosive device placed in a car went off.
Just a few days ago, police and other security forces held a meeting to form a security plan for the month of Muharram.
Source: The Express Tribune