At least 11 coal miners were killed in the Mach district of Balochistan on Sunday by unknown armed militants.
Police said the miners were on the way to work when militants kidnapped them and took them to the nearby mountains where they shot at them at close range.
An official with the Levies Force, Moazzam Ali Jatoi said six of the miners died on the spot while five were critically wounded and they died on the way to the hospital.
Jatoi said an initial investigation revealed the killings were sectarian in nature.
The attackers identified the miners as being from the Shia Hazara community and took them away for execution, leaving others unharmed, he said.
No militant group operating in the restive province immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Police was also yet to register a case, according to Quetta Deputy Commissioner Murad Kaas.
A heavy contingent of police, Frontier Corps, and district administration officials reached the shooting site after the violent incident.
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the killings, terming it “yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism”.
“Have asked the FC to use all resources to apprehend these killers & bring them to justice. The families of the victims will not be left abandoned by the govt,” he said in a tweet.
Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed while condemning the killings asked the Balochistan inspector general of police to submit a report on the incident.
“Terrorists will not succeed in their nefarious objectives. Elements involved in the incident are not deserving of any laxity,” he said.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the shootings in Mach were “condemnable and saddening”. Foreign enemies are making constant efforts to destablise Pakistan, he added.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said: “Indian funded terrorists in Balochistan getting [are] more desperate as development comes to province”.
“Socio[economic] empowerment & Insaf for the Baloch are how we will defeat the terrorists,” she tweeted.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani too “strongly condemned the tragic incident”.
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari termed the incident as “the worst form of terrorism”.
In a statement, Bilawal called on the government to take action and provide protection to miners working in the coalfields.
The PPP chairperson also asked the federal and provincial governments to provide “compensation to the families of the miners and ensure that such incidents do not occur again”.
Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said that security forces had surrounded the area and started the investigation. “[We] will bring the terrorists to justice,” he vowed.