January 9th, 2021
By Ahmad Saeed & Asim Ahmad Khan
The miners killed in the Machh tragedy were finally laid to rest in a graveyard in Quetta on Saturday, January 9, 2021. Yet still several questions connected to the incident continue to stay unanswered.
In the whole situation, one of the most important points has been more or less ignored by the media: one person did in fact survive the horrendous attack that took place on the night of January 2 and 3. The question is, was this person a lone survivor of the incident – or could he be a potential terror suspect?
A statement issued by the Afghan embassy in Islamabad claimed that an Afghan miner by the name of Rasul, son of Ghulam Ali, had managed to escape alive from the attack and is now under the custody of the Balochistan police.
“The Embassy will be very grateful if consular access would be provided to the Afghan General Consulate in Quetta, about the custody of Afghan citizen Mr. Rasul”, the statement reads. It adds that the Afghan consulate in Quetta would remain in close contact with Pakistani officials in this regard.
The statement also mentions that the seven slain coal miners were Afghan citizens.
A source in the Afghan Embassy also confirmed to Voicepk.net that one person had indeed managed to escape the attack, but regretted being able to provide any further details at this time.
It is therefore also important to point out that right after the incident, the Balochistan government had stated the number of miners killed as 11, but later the authorities decreased the number to 10.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Balochistan government Liaquat Shahwani denied that any Afghan miner was in the custody of the Balochistan police.
“The Afghan Embassy may be under the wrong impression because of the persistent rumor that a total of 11 miners were killed in the attack while the accurate number of people killed is 10”, he added.
When contacted by Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry regarding the statement of the Afghan embassy, he responded that at the moment he did not have any information about it. He said that he would try and get all the information possible from relevant authorities and then give an official stance on it. But, no response was given by him till the filing of this report.
Dead bodies buried after six days
After successful negotiations, that lasted for six days, all those who were killed, were finally buried on Saturday in Quetta. The details of the agreement reached between the Shauhada committee and the government are as follows
- Strict action will be taken against those responsible for negligence in the Machh incident.
- A high-level commission has been set-up, led by the provincial home minister on the incident.
- The Balochistan government will provide Rs 1.5 million each to the families of the martyrs.
- Federal and provincial security agencies will review the security situation in Balochistan.
- NADRA passport and immigration offices will solve problems faced by the Hazara community.
- The Balochistan government will provide employment to the heirs of martyrs.
It took six days for the Prime Minister to reach Quetta much to the anguish and anger of the Shia community nationwide and the Hazara community in Quetta. However, he reached soon after the burial of the murdered coal miners and he met with the victims’ families. He assured them that he would implement the agreement in letter and spirit.
The families of the deceased expressed severe reservations regarding PM Khan’s statement on Friday when he termed the sit-in an attempt to ‘blackmail’ him. Much later the Prime Minister explained that the blackmailing phrase was meant to be about the PDM leaders. He assured them that such incidents would not happen in the future and the oppression that has been happening to this nation for the last 22 years would be remedied.