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3 coal miners shot dead in Balochistan’s Harnai area – Pakistan

Three coal miners were shot dead by unidentified armed men in the Zalawan area in Harnai, Balochistan on Sunday, an official said.

Deputy Commissioner Harnai district Sohail Hashmi told Dawn.com that the assailants arrived at the coal mine in the wee hours of Sunday and opened fire on the colliers, leaving three of them dead on the spot.

He said the deceased belonged to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The bodies were later taken to Rural Health Centre, Shahrag for medico-legal formalities.

In August this year, some armed men had gunned down three coal miners working in the Marwar coalfield area, some 70 kilometres from Quetta.

The gunmen had entered the area in the night and escaped after killing the miners. Security forces personnel deployed at the nearby check-post had gotten the information late because there was no mobile phone service in the hilly area.

Similarly, seven miners were killed in a methane gas blast at a coal mine in the Harnai area in March.

104 coal miners killed this year

According to secretary-general of the Pakistan Central Mines and Labour Federation, Lala Sultan, at least 104 coal miners have lost their lives in the province this year, including the ones who died in a gas leak incident in September.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had on Friday expressed concern over human rights violations and bad working conditions in Balochistan’s coal mines.

Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club, veteran member of the rights body Husain Naqi had said the HRCP’s fact-finding mission was concerned to find that coal miners remained vulnerable to human rights violations.

The HRCP also highlighted that the compensation for death and injury is lower in Balochistan (i.e. Rs300,000) compared to other provinces (Rs500,000).

The rights body had also recommended that the government upgrade the status of the coal mining sector to industry and hold both mine owners and contractors accountable for running their sites in line with the provisions of the Mines Act of 1923 and subsequent amendments.

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