Pakistan’s Geo News reported that eleven coal miners were gunned down and four others seriously injured after armed men shot them on Sunday at the Machh coalfield in the Balochistan state of Pakistan.
The victims were members of the minority Hazara Shi’ite community, which has frequently come under attack in the past both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that seven of the victims were Afghan nationals working at the coal mine.
“The Foreign Ministry has directed the Afghan consulate in Quetta (the capital of Balochistan) and Embassy in Islamabad to provide any aid the victims’ families need,” the statement said.
The Ministry added that Afghanistan is ready to work jointly with the Pakistani government to investigate the “brutal crime” and prosecute the perpetrators.
The Islamic State (Daesh) claimed responsibility for executing the ethnic Hazaras.
Daesh militants have frequently targeted the Shi’ite/Hazara shrines, places of worship, and educational centers in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The attack prompted an outcry in Pakistan and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called it a “cowardly inhumane act of terrorism.”
“The condemnable killing of 11 innocent coal miners in Machh Balochistan is yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism. Have asked the FC to use all resources to apprehend these killers & bring them to justice. The families of the victims will not be left abandoned by the government,” Khan tweeted.
According to Pakistan news agencies, protests were held in the country, including a candle-light vigil in Multan city.
“In Quetta, Hazaras are continuing to protest the Machh incident on Western Bypass near Hazara Town,” Geo TV reported.