On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government had reached the conclusion that India was supporting the Islamic State (IS) militant faction in Pakistan to create chaos.
In a conversation with a group of digital media publishers and broadcasters, the premier indicated that, at the behest of India, the IS extremist group had carried out the killing of Shia Hazara coal miners last Sunday in Balochistan’s Mach district.
He said the genesis of radical sectarianism in Balochistan lay in the Afghan jihad of the 1980s, when addressing a question about the Hazara murders.
In March last year, Prime Minister Imran said his government had been given an intelligence briefing that India planned to “inflame sectarianism” in Pakistan by launching Shia and Sunni killings.
For a while, this was going on. Full marks [to] our ISI and world-class agencies that pre-empted this,”This was going on for a while. Full marks [to] our ISI and world-class agencies that pre-empted this,”
He said sectarian parties had morphed into the IS and regretted that, because of its tiny voting bank, successive federal governments had not paid enough attention to Balochistan.
Balochistan’s difficulties were also attributed by the Prime Minister to its sardari regime, in which he said that tribal leaders would enter into an alliance with federal governments; under that alliance, Balochistan’s development funds were invested by sardars and did not meet the people.
So the people [in Balochistan] are weak, but the Sardars have become very powerful over a period of time,”So the people [in Balochistan] are poor but the sardars over a period of time have become very powerful,”
Prime Minister Imran said his administration was the first government to concentrate on the province’s socio-economic growth. He said the government had given South Balochistan a big development package for the first time, but admitted that “it is a large area for which a lot of funds are needed which we don’t have at the moment.”
Praising Balochistan’s results, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani said the government was making efforts to reform the province’s current legacy.
The Prime Minister’s remarks come a week after the horrific massacre of 11 miners belonging to the Shia Hazara group in the Mach coalfield region. Early on January 3, armed gunmen stormed their residential compound where they were unconscious, blindfolded and trussed them before executing them. The IS assumed responsibility for the attack, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh.
On the same day, relatives and locals began a rally against the killings, arranging the coffins of miners on the Western Bypass on the outskirts of Quetta and refusing to bury them in a symbolic gesture before the visit and promise of safety by the prime minister.
Subsequently, the demonstrations spread to other areas of the country, including Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi, where many main roads were blocked by protesters, disrupting traffic.
After a deadlock of almost a week, negotiations between the demonstrators and the government succeeded, leading to the conclusion of Saturday’s demonstrations and the burying of the miners.