Covid-19: Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan tests positive

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has tested positive for Covid-19, the country’s health minister has said.

The 68-year-old is “self-isolating at home”, the minister, Faisal Sultan, tweeted.

Mr Khan, a former captain of the national cricket team who became prime minister in August 2018, received his first vaccination two days ago. 

Pakistan has recorded 13,799 deaths and 623,135 cases during the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccination helps develop immunity to the virus that causes Covid-19 but it usually takes a few weeks for protection to develop, and the person getting the jab remains vulnerable during that time.

The prime minister has been attending regular meetings, including at a security conference in the capital Islamabad that was attended by a large number of people, Reuters news agency notes.

He addressed that conference without wearing a mask, and attended another gathering to inaugurate a housing project for poor people on Friday, the agency reports.

Pakistan coal miners kidnapped and killed in IS attack

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the killing of 11 coal miners in the western Pakistani province of Balochistan.

They were kidnapped by militants and killed near the coal mine on Saturday.

The victims were members of a minority Shia community, the Hazara, repeatedly targeted by extremists because they are followers of Shia Islam. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the attack as an “inhumane act of terrorism”.

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The attack took place late on Saturday night, near the small town of Mach, not far from the provincial capital, Quetta, and close to the border with Afghanistan. Balochistan is the country’s largest and poorest region.

Armed militants kidnapped the miners from their shared residence and took them to some nearby mountains.

Six of the miners were already dead when found, and five who were critically wounded died on the way to a hospital, a local official is quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

A gruesome video from the scene shows the victims’ bodies strewn across the floor of a small hut – their hands had been bound together, reports the BBC’s Secunder Kermani. 

People burn tyres and block a motorway during a protest after a number of Shia minority people were killed by unknown gunmen in the Mach area on the outskirts of Quetta, Balochistan province, Pakistan, on 3 January 2021
image captionPeople burn tyres and block a motorway during a protest after the attack

Demanding justice, protesters laid the bodies out on a main road, blocking traffic. 

Officials have promised to apprehend those responsible.

Members of the Hazara community has been frequently targeted by extremists from Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim majority.