Hundreds of people have protested in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan for a second straight day following the killing of 11 Shi’ite Hazara coal miners in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
Up to 800 protesters, including women and children, on January 4 brought the coffins with the miners’ bodies to a road on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Quetta, insisting they would not be buried until authorities arrest the killers.
The demonstrators later moved the coffins to a nearby place of worship.
The attack took place early on January 3 near the Mach coalfield, some 50 kilometers east of Quetta.
Security officials said the miners were taken to nearby mountains where they opened fire on them. A number of them were said to have been beheaded.
Officials said security forces were conducting raids in the area.
IS militants claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online activity of militants.
The killing was largely condemned across the country, with Prime Minister Imran Khan calling it “yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism.”
“[I] 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 govt,” he tweeted.
Members of the Shi’ite ethnic Hazara minority have in the past been targeted by Sunni militant groups, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Resource-rich Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, has been plagued by sectarian violence, attacks by Islamist militants, and a separatist insurgency that has produced thousands of casualties since 2004.