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Afghan Shia leader visits Pakistan after massacre of Hazara miners

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo, provided by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (2nd-L) is seen greeting Karim Khalili (L), an influential Afghan Shia leader, on his arrival at Foreign Ministry for a meeting, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on January 12, 2021.

A prominent Afghan Shia Muslim leader has held talks with Pakistan’s foreign minister days after the brutal massacre of several coal miners from the Hazara community by the Daesh terrorist group in southwestern Pakistan.

Karim Khalili, a former vice president of Afghanistan under ex-President Hamid Karzai, and also a member of the ethnic Hazara community, met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday.

The visit comes days after the Takfiri 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 militant 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, largely confined to two fortified enclaves on either side of the city, Hazara Town and Alamdar Road.

Khalili discusses intra-Afghan dialog

Khalili, who heads the Afghan Hezb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami political party, also discussed the continuing peace process between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban.

“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.”

Pakistan had reportedly helped bring the Taliban to the table first with the United States, resulting in an agreement in February last year.

The Afghan government and the Taliban held the first round of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on September 12 last year. The two sides took a break after striking a preliminary deal but resumed earlier.

Meanwhile, the intra-Afghan peace negotiations in Doha have had no progress over the past three days.

Under that preliminary deal, the Taliban agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with Kabul.

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