Ready to go to Quetta immediately if Hazara protestors bury their dead: PM Imran Khan

Making the Burial Conditional on his Visit is Inappropriate

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he is ready to go to Quetta immediately if the protesting Hazara community buries their dead.

Speaking at a launch ceremony of Special Technology Zones Authority in Islamabad, the premier said making the burial conditional on his visit is inappropriate.

The prime minister said he wanted to start by clearing his position on the matter. “All the demands put forth by the protesters have been accepted; therefore, making the burial [of the dead] conditional on the prime minister’s visit is not appropriate,” he said. “This is akin to blackmailing the prime minister.”

PM Imran Khan said when he learned about the killing of 11 coal miners in Machh, he first sent Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed to Quetta then two federal ministers [Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari and Ali Zaidi] to assure the Hazara community that the government stood behind them.

“I assured them that they would be compensated and looked after as the affected families have lost their breadwinners.”

PM Imran Khan said the federal government has accepted all demands put forth by the Hazara protestors but they are adamant that they would not bury the dead until the prime minister visits Quetta.

“Nowhere in the world can you blackmail a prime minister like this. Because then [it opens the door for] every crook to stage a sit-in and demand corruption cases against them be withdrawn. This is very important.”

“The Hazara community has faced the most cruelty,” said the prime minister. “They have been persecuted in ways no other [community] has been persecuted. I have visited them and seen their fear.”

“India is trying its best to create chaos [in Pakistan],” he continued. “I had already told the cabinet that Shia ulema may be targeted in a bid to spread unrest. A Sunni alim was murdered in Karachi — we put out that fire with great difficulty.”

“I have told them that if they bury the victims today, I will go to Quetta today. However, their demand to bury their relatives only if I visit them is not appropriate and not acceptable,” he said. “I want to make it clear that we have accepted all the demands but this is not appropriate that you put forth a condition that does not make sense.”