Says will only go to Quetta after they bury the dead
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he will only fly to Quetta to meet Hazara protesters after they bury the bodies of 10 coal miners who were killed in a targeted attack on January 3. He claims he will not be ‘blackmailed’ by them.
In Quetta, the families of the victims and other Hazara people have blocked the Western Bypass. They have been protesting with the bodies for six days and have vowed not to leave unless Prime Minister Khan meets them in person, ensures the safety of Hazaras, and promises to arrest the perpetrators.
“We can’t do this if you set a condition for the burial of the dead,” he remarked while addressing the launch of the Special Technology Zones Authority in Islamabad on Friday. “If you bury them today, then I will take a plane and come to meet you today.”
He said he sent three members of his cabinet to meet the protesters to assure them that the state will take care of them and compensate them for the loss of their loved ones.
The success of their visit can be measured by the outrage at Zulfi Bukhari’s insensitive words to the protesters where he asked what benefit they would get if PM Khan came to Quetta.
The premier said he is aware of the problems faced by Hazaras. They have been targeted like no other community in Pakistan, he said. “I have seen the fear in their eyes.”
However, despite calls since January 3, the premier has refused to visit the protesting families. Several opposition leaders have visited the protesters, including PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz.
The Machh massacre is part of the conspiracy that I have been speaking about since March, he said. “India is trying to spread sectarian violence in Pakistan.”
The attack, however, has been claimed by ISIS.
“I am thankful to our intelligence agencies that they have foiled four terrorist attacks in the last few days,” he said. “A Sunni cleric was killed in Karachi too. Thankfully, things did not escalate and we were able to douse the fire of sectarianism that India is trying to start,” he said.
We have agreed to all their demands, said the premier. However, one of the protesters’ demands is that they will bury the dead once the PM comes to Quetta.
“You cannot blackmail a PM like this when we have agreed to everything else,” he said. Earlier, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed made a similar claim and said the government had agreed to all but one of the protesters’ demands, which was the resignation of the provincial government. The federal cabinet had green-lighted the premier’s visit but he did not travel to the city.
“No PM in any country can be blackmailed like this because this would lead to everyone blackmailing the PM,” added PM Khan.
We already have a group of “dacoits” trying to blackmail us by saying that they will remove us from power, he said, referring to the opposition.