KOHAT, June 4: At least 11 people were killed and a number of shops, houses and a petrol pump set on fire as violence spiralled in Hangu after the murder of a lawmaker belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
The riots erupted after the death of Fareed Khan, a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, in a case of targeted killing on Monday. It was followed by torching of four shops, three houses and a petrol pump in which initially two people were killed, SSP Sajjad Khan told reporters on Tuesday.
“The administration is trying its best to quell the riots and disengage extremist groups. The army has been called out to restore normality. The curfew is still in force, but rioters are operating secretly and have so far succeeded in keeping clear of security personnel,” the SSP said.
Officials said that armed men of a ‘peace committee’, purportedly headed by the slain MPA, had killed nine loyalists of Tehreek-i-Taliban’s Maulana Nabi Hanafi in different incidents. Preliminary findings by investigators have held the Hanafi group responsible for Fareed Khan’s murder.
The MPA-led ‘peace committee’ had taken on the Hanafi group, which controls access to the Kurram and Orakzai agencies, and warned it to keep off “undesirable activities”.
The names of the nine victims were Ayaz, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Razaq, Monir Gul, Hussain Akbar, Sifat Khan, Abdullah, Abidullah and Samiullah. Eleven people have been arrested in a search operation undertaken after Fareed Khan’s death.
Funeral of the slain MPA was held in Hangu amid tension, a relaxation in curfew notwithstanding.
Shopping centres remained closed as businessmen opted for caution amid fear of arson and rampage by protesters. .
The army and Frontier Constabulary personnel patrolled the main bazaar and all other sensitive places. The deputy commissioner and the SP took repeated rounds of the bazaar.
ROCKETS FIRED: Four rockets were fired at the residence of former provincial irrigation minister Ghaniur Rehman by enraged demonstrators who took to the streets to protest the MPA’s killing.
Unknown armed men fired with automatic guns at the house of Atique ur Rehman, son of Ghaniur Rehman, who lost in the recent elections to Fareed Khan. The culprits managed to flee the area.