BATKHELA: The JUI-F continued to block the road at Pul Chowki, Chakdara, for the fifth day.

However, the number of participants was less compared with previous days.

A representative Qaumi Jirga led by elders, including PPP’s Khurshid Ali and Fazle Ghafoor and ANP’s Waseel Khan and Sirtaj met the protesting JUI-F leaders and requested them to open the Chakdara-Batkhela Road for commuters.

However, the JUI-F leaders including Mufti Fazal Ghafoor, Maulana Ghulamullah Haqani and others refused to do so.

They said the staging of the sit-in was the decision of the party’s central leadership and they couldn’t act against it.

Also, the owners of car dealers met the JUI-F leaders and informed them about the losses caused by the sit-in to their business.

The JUI-F said they would open the road for them.

Meanwhile, gunmen fired in the air near the sit-in venue on Monday evening and fled.

However, no damage to public life was reported.

The incident caused panic and fear among participants.

JUI-F Malakand emir Mufti Abdul Ghafoor, who oversaw road blockades, criticised the administration over a lack of security measures for protesters.

He claimed that the gunmen riding a car tried to knock down the activists of Ansarul Islam and even fired gunshots on them in the presence of Malakand Levies personnel.

He said the sit-in would continue despite such threats.

The DC and commandant of the Levies Force Iqbal Hussain told Dawn that the firing incident occurred in Lower Dir side, while the Chakdara police registered an FIR.

He said he had asked the Pul Chowki levies post to register FIR against miscreants.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019