Balochistan Levies found bodies of the seven missing coal miners in Degari area, some 28 kilometres from the provincial capital on Thursday morning.
The miners were kidnapped on July 7 in the Sorange area, 25 kilometres from Quetta.
The Chief Inspector of Mines, Iftikhar Ahmed confirmed the incident and said that some passersby spotted the corpses and informed Balochistan Levies. The levies force and local administration rushed to the spot where they found bullet-riddled bodies dumped on the roadside in the hills near Degari coalfields.
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) spokesman Jihand Baloch had claimed the kidnapping of the miners.
The victims were employees of United Minerals, a private pit operator. They were identified as Hameedullah, Abdul Hameed, Mohammad Ishaq, Faqir Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Akbar and Khan Mohammad. They were residents of the Swat and Dir districts of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, official sources said. Levies official said that the miners had been shot dead overnight. IG Frontier Corps Ubaidullah Khan condemned the killings, and vowed to pursue the killers and bring them to justice.
According to sources, a paper slip found on a corpse carried a written message that outsiders working in Balochistan’s coal mines and exploiting other natural resources will be killed in a similar way.
Protest outside Balochistan High Court
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) and National Labour Federation Balochistan staged a protest outside the Balochistan High Court where a hearing was taking place on law and order. The protesters chanted slogans against the government and the killing of miners.
Addressing the protesters the PMAP leader Nasrullah Zery and National Labour Federation Balochistan’s Abdul Rahim Mir Dad Khel condemned the killings and said that it’s not the first incident that the miners were kidnapped and killed in the province. The local administration has failed to protect the life of the coal miners, they said.
The coal miners are not only earning money for their children but are also contributing in improving Balochistan’s economy.
Chief Justice orders probe
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain was hearing petitions on law and order and human rights violations in the province at Quetta registry of the court when the news of the horrific incident came.
The Chief Justice took notice of the incident and asked the home secretary and the chief secretary of the province to submit a report. The home secretary informed the bench that the coal miners were kidnapped from Surange, “it is the same area where the Frontier Corps have been targeted,” Naseebullah Bazai said. The CJ said there is no government writ in the province, there is high level corruption and everybody blames one another.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.
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