Photo: Asef Ali Mohammad

Militant behind killing of Hazaras in Quetta arrested along Afghanistan border

A militant who masterminded several attacks against Pakistan’s Hazaras in southwestern Quetta city was arrested by Pakistani intelligence agents when he recently crossed Afghanistan’s Spin Boldak border town.

The militant, identified as Abdul Bari, was apprehended while he was on his way to Quetta from Spin Boldak, the Pakistani News International reported on Wednesday, saying Bari intended to visit his family in Mastung not knowing that his movements were being tracked.

The militant was at large for his association in the targeted killings of Pakistan’s Hazara community in Balochistan province, including the slaughter of coal miners in the Mach area of Bolan district—about 50 km away from Quetta.

In January 2021, 11 Hazara coal miners were beheaded after their hands were tied behind their backs and blindfolded. The attacks led the Hazara community to protest for several days demanding that then-Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visit them to ensure protection and security. The bodies were later buried after Khan paid a visit.

The Islamic State—Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack came after a relative peace in a year of violence against the Hazara community in Quetta whose members have been subjected to “deliberate and systematic murders for the past two decades,” according to a study published in March.

Pakistani Sunni militant groups have targeted and killed thousands of Hazaras mainly in Quetta where an estimated 500,000 of them live after they migrated from the central highlands of Afghanistan.