PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Friday once again hit out at Prime Minister Imran Khan for not having visited the Shia Hazaras protesting the killing of coal miners in the Mach area so far, and for suggesting they were “blackmailing” the premier.
Speaking at a press conference in Karachi, she said Prime Minister Imran had admitted today that he was not going to Quetta “not because of a security threat but ego [and] his stubbornness”.
“The nation wants to know what was the problem which prevented you from going and putting your hand on their heads. If this was due to obedience (tabedari), then the nation wants to know is obedience more important than the people’s lives?” she said.
“If this is superstition then tell the nation so [it] knows the lives of 220 million people are not in the hands of any person or government but decided through superstition.
“If this is insensitivity and ruthlessness then tell the nation so we know not to look towards you in crisis and [know that] you won’t come and call innocents blackmailers,” the PML-N leader added.
On Sunday, armed attackers slit the throats of 11 miners in a residential compound near a mine site in Balochistan’s Mach coalfield area, filming the entire incident and later posting it online. The gruesome attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State group.
Since then, thousands of Hazaras have staged a protest along with coffins containing the miners’ bodies in the western bypass area in Quetta for more than five days, while members of the community have also held protests in other cities across the country.
Braving the biting cold, the mourners, including women and children, have refused to leave or lay the miners’ bodies to rest until Prime Minister Imran visits them and the killers are brought to justice.
Earlier today, the prime minister was widely criticised on social media when, amidst countrywide protests and rising political pressure, he suggested that the protesters were “blackmailing” him by refusing to bury their loved ones until he visits them.