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Sectarian clash leaves five dead in Bhakkar

Updated August 24, 2013

MIANWALI, Aug 23: A clash between two religious sects in Bhakkar district left five people dead and eight injured on Friday. Some TV channels put the death toll at 11.

Some officials traced the clash to a shopkeeper’s murder on Wednesday.

Workers of the Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat (ASWJ) took to the streets after Ghulam Mohammad’s killing, placing his body on the road to block traffic. They threatened to observe a strike if police failed to arrest the killers within 48 hours. Police registered a case against two unknown men.

A shutter-down strike was observed in the district on Friday on the call of the ASWJ. The protesters took out a procession on the town’s main street. When the protesters, led by the ASWJ’s general secretary Maulana Manzoor Okasha, were dispersing after the demonstration, some unknown people opened fire at them near Hussaini Chowk. One of the protesters was injured. This led to an armed clash between people of two sects.

Two persons, identified as Imran Shah and Safdar Shah, were injured in the firing. Imran later died at a hospital.

All shops in Darya Khan Bazaar were closed as word spread about the killing.

The two groups also fired at each other’s positions in Kotla Jam. The shootout continued well past midnight, turning the area into a battlefield.

The administration called in police contingents from other districts, but failed to restore normality.