Three coal miners were shot dead by unidentified armed men in the Zalawan area of district Harnai on Sunday, according to officials.
Deputy Commissioner Harnai Sohail Hashmi told the media that the assailants came late in the night and opened fire on the coal miners, leaving three of them dead on the spot. He said that the deceased colliers were Afghans who came from Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The bodies were subsequently moved to the Rural Health Center for further investigation and medico-legal formalities.
Earlier in August, unidentified armed men had gunned down three miners in the Marwar area of Bolan, some seventy kilometres from the provincial capital Quetta. The assailants had entered the area in the night, killed the miners and escaped unscathed. According to the security forces stationed at a nearby check post, they had received the information late because “there was no cellular service in the area.”
Similarly, seven miners were killed in a methane gas blast in a mine in Harnai in March this year.
Coal mining is among the most dangerous professions in the world, but the danger is much greater in Balochistan owing to the lack of facilities and security at the coal mines. According to the secretary-general of the Pakistan Central Mines and Labour Federation, Lala Sultan, 104 colliers have lost their lives in Balochistan this year, including the ones killed in blasts. The Human Rights Council of Pakistan has repeatedly expressed concern over human rights violations and bad working conditions in the coal mines of Balochistan.
The HRCP also highlighted that the compensation for death and injury for the colliers in Balochistan (300,000 rupees) is much lower than other provinces (500,000 rupees). The rights group asked the authorities to upgrade the coal mining sector and hold mine owners and contractors accountable for the alleged human rights violations.