Karachi: Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province saw 2,886 terrorist attacks and 3,184 related deaths in the last decade, according to a media report. From 2010 to 2015, 2,049 people died in 1,701 militant attacks in the southwestern province, SAMAA TV reported. From 2016 to 2020, 1,135 people were killed in 1,185 terror attacks.

Among the 3,184 terror-related deaths in the last decade, 2,058 were civilians and 1,126 were security personnel, the news channel reported.

The numbers come in the backdrop of last week's brutal killing of 11 Shia Hazara coal miners by Islamic State terrorists in the province's mountainous Machh area.

The Shia Hazara community, who live in the border areas of Baluchistan and Afghanistan, are the main targets of sectarian violence in the province as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance. Sunni militants consider them as heretics.

The targeted killing of the coal miners drew worldwide condemnation, including reproach from the offices of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir.

The families of the deceased coal miners had initially refused to bury the bodies till the militants were arrested. They ended their protest on Saturday last after Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to visit them.

Khan visited them on Saturday, saying the entire nation stands with them. The prime minister said his mission was to unite the people of the country, and the Muslim world at large.

Baluchistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langau on Monday said a large-scale operation would be launched against militants in the province.

"The operation will be extended till every terrorist is eliminated. Terrorists want to divide us on the basis of sectarianism and language. The people have thwarted every attempt of the terrorists in the past and will keep doing so in the future as well," Langau said, after chairing a high-level meeting in the aftermath of the killing of the coal miners, The Express Tribune reported.

The minister said the terrorists and their facilitators would be identified and eliminated.

However, critics of the Pakistan government say security forces may be given additional power during the anti-terror operation, leading to the harassment of innocent locals and the poor.