Gen Bajwa orders inquiry against FC for opening fire on civilians in Parachinar

Published June 30, 2017
Gen Bajwa met the families of the victims of the twin blasts that tore through the city last week.
Gen Bajwa met the families of the victims of the twin blasts that tore through the city last week.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa lamented the firing incident on protesters in Parachinar by Frontier Constabulary personnel last week, which had resulted in the death of four civilians, and said an inquiry has been initiated and that “those responsible shall not be spared”.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations on Friday, Gen Bajwa said that the FC Commandant in Parachinar has already been changed following the firing incident by "FC troops while handling the post-blast mob situation."

"Notwithstanding the irreparable loss, four shaheeds and injured due to the firing have been given separate compensation by the FC," the army chief was quoted as saying.

The military's media wing further said that the government has "now announced compensation for Parachinar victims at par with other such victims elsewhere in the country".

The ISPR said that the army fully supports mainstreaming of Fata, "which is being pursued and its early implementation is essential for enduring peace and stability."

It also promised that a trauma Centre will be established at Parachinar by the army, while local civil hospital will be upgraded for better medical care by civil administration.

Earlier, Gen Bajwa met the families of the victims of the twin blasts that tore through the city last week, ISPR said.

Shortly after he arrived in the city, Gen Bajwa was briefed and given an update on the security situation in Parachinar where at least 72 were killed and 200 others were injured.

The army chief met with tribal elders and members of the Shia community in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram Agency ─ a mainly Shia area in the tribal belt.

Members of the Shia community have been protesting against the government inaction following the bombings and had demanded a visit from the Gen Bajwa and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar.

During a meeting with the COAS, the Shia community presented a list of 11 demands which includes Rs5 million compensation for those killed in the attack, and Rs2.5m for those injured.

The protesters have also demanded that the Frontier Constabulary (FC), currently deployed in the city, be replaced by the militia force for the security of Parachinar, and that FC Commandant Malik Umer be removed from his post.

They demanded that a report on terrorist incidents in Parachinar should be made public and the Pak-Afghan border be secured.

"The demands that have been made by the protesters are political and concerned with security," ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said, briefing the media while the meeting between the COAS and the tribal elders was still underway.

"Frontier Constabulary KP is a professional force inclusive of all tribes and sects performing their duties selflessly," ISPR quoted the COAS as saying.

The army chief has issued instructions on matters concerned with security, the DG said, adding that the COAS has announced the development of a safe city project for Parachinar.

"The process of fencing the Pak-Afghan border is underway and will be completed in two phases," Gen Ghafoor added. In the first phase, sensitive locations on the border will be fenced; whereas in the second phase the rest of the border will be fenced, the DG elaborated.

The army chief had reportedly attempted to fly to Parachinar earlier this week, before being forced to turn back due to inclement weather.

In the aftermath of the attack in Parachinar, the Pakistan Army called for a unified response to what it said was a "malicious" campaign by hostile intelligence agencies and anti-state elements to give a sectarian and ethnic colour to the recent violence.

According to an earlier ISPR statement, the army chief had interacted with religious clergy of all sects over the last few days to seek their involvement in defeating the "campaign" to create sectarian tension.

The twin explosions that tore through the city last Friday were the third terrorist attack that Parachinar has witnessed in 2017.

At least 24 people were killed in January in a bomb attack claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami and a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Sheheryar Mehsud.

In March, a second attack in another market killed 22 people. The attack was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar.

Friday's assault ─ also claimed by the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami ─ brought the town's loss of life due to terror attacks up to 115, more than any one city in Pakistan has suffered so far this year.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced compensation of Rs1 million and Rs0.5 million for each family of the victims of the twin bombings and for each person injured in the blasts, respectively.

However, protesting tribal elders have rejected the offered compensation, saying that they need to be recognised as human beings first. The compensation was announced six days after the bombing.



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