Villagers from the northwest carry placards during a protest in the provincial capital Peshawar. -AFP -File Photo

PESHAWAR: Commandant Frontier Corps Bara, Col Jawad Zia has reportedly been removed from his position and a new commandant for the force has been deployed in Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency, official sources said.

The development comes after continuing pressure and protests from the Bara tribesmen, elders and parliamentarians over the killings of 18 tribesmen in Alamgudar area.

“Col Naeem Sarwar has taken over charge as the new commandant of the force in Bara in place of Col Jawad Zia who has been relieved of his duties,” official sources said.

The Frontier Corps sources, however said that postings and transfers are routine affairs and Col Jawad Zia has been reposted as per routine.

“It has nothing to do with the killings of the tribesmen, security forces do not kill innocent people, but the militants might have been behind the incident,” sources said.

"Col Jawad is still in Bara and has not been posted anywhere else, but yes he has been relieved of his present posting as Commandant FC Bara," the FC sources said.

Speaking to Dawn.Com, Member National Assembly from Bara, Hamidullah Jan Afridi, said that the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani should order an impartial inquiry into the killing of innocent people and punish security personnel responsible for it.

“We are not saying it’s an institutional blunder, but it’s a personal folly which needs to be rectified. Those responsible should be punished to restore the confidence of tribesmen in Khyber Agency,” said Hamidullah Jan.

“The mishap, if it happened, needs to be put right instead of being put underneath the carpet,” he said.

“The security forces are sons of the soil and the tribesmen hold them in high esteem, but they are human and faults need to be rectified,” said Jan.

Security officials say Lashkhar-i-Islam militants fire mortars and rockets at security personnel and civilian populations which results in civilian casualties.

Earlier in the day, the funeral prayers in absentia, of the 18 people killed was offered at Bagh-i-Naran. Tribal elders, people from different walks of life and the former Fata parliamentarians attended.

Protests against the killings and demand for an independent inquiry continued for a third day as the JUI-F and JI staged rallies and demos across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.

The KP assembly on Friday demanded the federal government hold an inquiry into the killing of the tribesmen.

The issue was raised in the house by MPA Saqibullah Khan Chamkani of ANP who strongly condemned the baton charging of protesting tribesmen outside Governor House. He demanded that a judicial inquiry be conducted into the killings so that the culprits be exposed.

All roads entering Peshawar from Khyber Agency were blocked since Friday morning to stop tribal protestors from entering the city.

The Governor House was completely sealed and traffic on the main Sher Shah Suri Road remained suspended till evening. The road had been blocked with barbed wires and containers.

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