LAKKI MARWAT: The killing of a four-year-old boy, who had allegedly been kidnapped a month ago, sparked protests in Gandi Khankhel area of Naurang town on Sunday, causing closure of busy Indus Highway for several hours.

Awais, 4, was kidnapped from Gandi Khankhel area a month ago and local police had arrested an alleged kidnapper after registration of a case in Shaheed Asmatullah Khan Khattak police station.

On Sunday morning, the mutilated body of Awais was found in the fields near the village which sparked protests in the area.

Announcements were made from loudspeakers and a large number of people, including baton-wielding women, came out of houses and gathered on the Indus at Gandi Chowk. Villagers also blocked roads at Manjiwala Chowk, Serai Gambila and Muslim Bagh, while a group of youths held a demonstration against boy’s killing in Lakki city.

At Gandi Chowk, the protesters closed the highway to all kinds of vehicular traffic, forcing transporters to queue up their vehicles on both sides of the main artery.

They also kept Bannu-DI Khan Road closed for traffic by burning tyres.

District nazim Iqbal Hussain Advocate, naib nazim Haji Arab Khan, MNA Maulana Mohammad Anwar and other political leaders rushed to the place to share grief with family of the boy and assured them that they would extend all-out cooperation to bring culprits into clutches of law.

On the occasion, the speakers condemned the kidnapping and brutal murder of innocent boy and held police responsible for the happening. They said the police had badly failed to control crimes in the district.

Later, elders held talks with deputy commissioner Jehangir Azam Wazir and district police officer Qasim Ali Khan in Serai Gambila police station and demanded suspension of Naurang circle DSP and station house officer of Shaheed Asmatullah Khan Khattak police station, transparent and quick investigation into the incident and arrest of killers without delay.

However, despite successful talks with police and administration officials, the elders’ request to the protesters to end the agitation fell on deaf years as the agitators set on fire a police post at Gandi Chowk and pelted stones on police vehicles, prompting law enforcers to fire gunshots in the air and use tear gas and batons to control the situation.

Later, the police cleared roads at Manjiwala Chowk, Serai Gambila town and Lakki city by dispersing protesters, while the cops were engaged with agitators at Gandi Chowk till filing of this report on Sunday evening.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019