File Photo: Scores of people gathered outside a coal mine where 2 miners were trapped in Dukki: Photo provided by the author


The recent tragedy in Balochistan’s Harnai district, where 12 coal miners lost their lives in a devastating explosion, serves as yet another grim reminder of the perilous conditions prevailing within the region’s coal mines. Despite repeated assurances from the authorities and promises of improved safety measures, such incidents continue to occur with alarming frequency, exposing the callous disregard of both the government and mine owners towards the lives and well-being of workers.

Rescue Teams Arrived Late

The initial response to the explosion was marred by delays and inadequacies, further exacerbating the already dire situation for those trapped underground. It is unacceptable that rescue teams arrived late and were ill-equipped to handle the emergency, putting the lives of both miners and rescuers at unnecessary risk. The lack of proper safety protocols and equipment underscores a systemic failure on the part of regulatory bodies and mine operators to prioritize the welfare of workers.

Miners Belong To Vulnerable Groups

Furthermore, the fact that many of the deceased miners hailed from the Pishin district of Balochistan highlights the disproportionate impact of such tragedies on marginalized communities. These miners, often belonging to vulnerable tribal groups, are forced to risk their lives in hazardous working conditions due to economic necessity, while those in positions of power turn a blind eye to their plight.

While Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti has expressed concern over the incident and ordered a rescue mission, mere words are not enough to address the root causes of these recurring disasters. The government must hold negligent contractors and mine owners accountable for their actions and ensure that stringent safety regulations are enforced across all mining operations in the province.

Voices Of Mine Workers Must Be Heard

Moreover, the voices of mine workers, represented by leaders like Sultan Muhammad Khan, must be heard and heeded. It is high time that their demands for safer working conditions, fair wages, and adequate compensation for victims of industrial accidents are met with concrete action from the authorities.

Balochistan’s coal mines should not be death traps for those who toil within them. The loss of 12 lives in Harnai is a tragedy that should serve as a wake-up call for the government and mine owners to prioritize human lives over profit margins. Failure to do so will only perpetuate the cycle of exploitation and suffering that has plagued the region for far too long.

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.