KARACHI (Dispatches) – A prominent Afghan Shia Muslim leader has held talks with Pakistan’s foreign minister after 10 Shia coal miners were brutally killed in a targeted attack in southwest Pakistan earlier this month.
Karim Khalili, leader of the Afghan Hezb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami political party, met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday, the Pakistani foreign office said.
High on the agenda was the continuing peace process between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, with talks aimed at ending the 20-year war in Pakistan’s northwestern neighbor continuing in Qatar.
"During the meeting, views were exchanged on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations and progress in the Afghan peace process,” read a Pakistani statement on the meeting.
"Foreign Minister [Qureshi] reiterated Pakistan’s consistent support for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.”
The visit comes days after the Daesh terrorist group killed nearly a dozen coal miners from the Shia Muslim group in a targeted attack near the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta earlier this month.
The Hazara community on both sides of the border has suffered decades of persecution and attacks by violent terrorist groups operating across the troubled region.
Shia Muslims across the country later joined in the demonstrations against the massacre, demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan visit the grieving community in Quetta and assure them of protection.
Authorities on Friday promised the arrest of the attackers, the payment of compensation to the bereaved families, and better security for the Hazara.
Thousands of people attended the funeral of the miners, whose bodies were laid to rest amid tight security six days after their deaths.
Ethnic Hazaras in Balochistan, Pakistan’s poorest province, have long been persecuted for their faith, facing targeted attacks and large-scale bombings that have killed hundreds in the past two decades.
Quetta is home to roughly 600,000 Shia Hazara Muslims.