Families seek bodies after deadly attack in Iran’s Saravan
LAHORE: While the protesting families of five Pakistani labourers killed in Iran demanded the government repatriate the remains of their loved ones for burial in their native towns, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Mudassir Tipu said on Sunday two Pakistanis injured in the Saravan attack would be discharged soon from the hospital.
The protesting families of the victims of the gun attack staged a demonstration outside the assistant commissioner’s office in Alipur tehsil of Muzaffargarh district.
The labourers, identified as Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Shoaib, Shabbir, Muhammad Azhar and his younger brother Muhammad Asghar, lost their lives when armed men attacked a house in the Sirkan area of Saravan city in Sistan-Baluchestan province near the Pakistani border.
Reports indicate that the unidentified shooters asked the labourers, who were employed in Iran for eight to 10 years and residing on their own purchased property, about their nationality before opening fire on them.
The brutal attack came as Pakistan and Iran work to resume ties after a tit-for-tat strikes against militants in the border region.
Mr Mukhtar, a relative of one of the deceased, said the attackers who killed nine Pakistani nationals were chanting slogans, claiming that they had taken revenge from Pakistan.
He also mentioned that four other victims hailed from the Bahawalpur district, all labourers by profession, including electricians, carpenters, and construction workers.
He said the assistant commissioner had told the victims’ families that he was contacting the government and the Foreign Office to repatriate the bodies.
The families of the victims are calling on the government to take decisive action against the perpetrators and facilitate the return of their relatives’ bodies. Their demands have garnered support from civil society groups, who joined the protest in solidarity.
In a tweet, Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran Mudassir Tipu said two of the Pakistanis injured in the Saravan attack would be discharged soon from the hospital, while the third citizen required further treatment.
“Our Consul in Zahidan reached the hospital and met our three brave and hardworking Pakistanis whose sacrifices I salute. Glad that 2 will soon be discharged while our third brother will require more treatment. Pakistan firmly stands with them and do whatever is required for their wellbeing,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Earlier on Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office while reacting to the killings in Iran demanded a comprehensive investigation and swift prosecution of those responsible for the brutal attack.
“We are in touch with Iranian authorities and have underscored the need to immediately investigate the incident and hold to account those involved in this heinous crime,” FO spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2024