Parachinar tense after killing of protesters

Updated May 13, 2016


PARACHINAR/PESHAWAR: The educational institutions and bazaars remained closed in Parachinar on Thursday following the killing of three protesters in Kurram Agency the other day while Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen demanded judicial probe into the incident.

Local sources said that efforts were underway to ease tension in the tribal region.

They said that authorities forced traders to close their shops in Parachinar while educational institutions were already closed in the town.

On the other hand, Tehreek Hussaini, a local religious organisation, has announced three-day mourning in the area.

Bazaars, educational institutions remain closed; Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen seeks judicial probe

An official said that schools and colleges were likely to be reopened on Monday. He said that bazaars would open after Friday prayers. The local people faced hardships when administration stopped entry of vehicles into the town and sealed all entry and exit points.

Three people were killed and 11 others including personnel of Levies Force suffered injuries in clashes between the supporters of Tehreek Hussaini and security forces.

The workers of Tehreek Hussaini staged a sit-in on the main highway in Saddra village near Parachinar to protest ban on the entry of two Peshawar-based clerics, who were invited to address a religious congregation in the town on Tuesday.

Personnel of Levies and Frontier Corps were called to remove protesters from the highway which resulted in clashes between the two sides.

Officials alleged that armed men among the protesters fired at security forces when they used tear gas shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse the protesters. The administration arrested 47 people after the incident.

Local ulema condemned the incident, saying militants were roaming openly in the area while people were stopped from observing religious congregation. They said that political administration would not be allowed to stop people from observing their religious rituals.

Meanwhile, senior officials held talks with the elders to ease tension and maintain peace in the area. An official said that elders were assured that shopkeepers would be allowed to open their shops after Friday prayers.

Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen provincial general secretary Allama Syed Mohammad Sabtain Hussaini told a press conference in Peshawar that judicial inquiry should be launched into the incident.

He alleged that local administration wanted to disrupt the peaceful environment in Parachinar. The government should take stern action against the relevant officials, he added.

“We are peaceful people. We had invited known Naat Khwan Mustafa Kazmi to a religious gathering to celebrate the auspicious eve of the birth anniversary of Imam Hussain (AS) but he was not allowed to enter Kurran Agency which infuriated the people and they took out a peaceful protest procession,” said the MWM leader.

He demanded of Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and corps commander Peshawar to take action against the people involved in the killing of peaceful residents of Kurram Agency.

Flanked by Imamia Students Organisation leader Ali Jan Turi and others, the MWM leader said that assistant political agent should be held accountable for the incident.

He asked the government and law enforcement agencies to take action against the anti-state actors, saying some forces were trying to sabotage peaceful environment in Kurram Agency.

He condemned the targeted killings of Shiites in the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that more than nine Shiite Muslims were killed during last six days in Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan and Kurram Agency. He also expressed concern over closure of educational institutions in Parachinar.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2016