DERA ISMAIL KHAN/ FAISALABAD, Feb 28 Dera Ismail Khan and Faisalabad districts were in the grip of tension following clashes and attacks on processions taken out on Saturday to celebrate Eid Miladun Nabi (peace be upon him).

A curfew was imposed in three tehsils of D. I. Khan and Section 144 was imposed in Faisalabad.

Troops were deployed in the troubled Dheki town of D. I. Khan after clashes between two sectarian groups.

Police and hospital sources said that seven people had been killed and 32 others injured in an attack on a procession and an exchange of fire between law-enforcement personnel and rioters.

Trouble started when the procession passing by a seminary came under attack. Witnesses said that two men in the procession were killed and five others injured.

Immediately after the incident, a charged mob attacked the seminary. A police contingent trying to bring the situation under control also came under attack and five people were killed and 27 others injured when police fired back.

The town was calm but tense on Sunday with troops patrolling the streets.The main Dera city, Proa and Paharpur tehsils were under strict curfew.

NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti discussed the situation with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on phone and appealed to him to cooperate with the government to promote sectarian harmony in the area.

According to a handout issued in Peshawar, Mr Hoti assured the Maulana that the government would take action against trouble-makers.

DIG Feroz Shah said that over 50 people had been arrested for firing at the procession and cases had been registered against them.

Officials said that a curfew had also been imposed in the adjacent Tank town.

The administration convened meetings of elders, Ulema and politicians to seek their help in maintaining peace in the town which has a history of sectarian clashes.

Police said a pick-up truck loaded with weapons was seized near the Cawar checkpost and a man was arrested.

In Faisalabad, four people were injured when a group of people believed to be hiding in Gol Mosque opened fire on an Eid Miladun Nabi (PBUH) procession in Ghulam Mohammadabad locality of the city.

Some men in the procession allegedly vandalised the mosque and pelted it with stones.

A Gol Mosque spokesperson said that people in the procession had provoked them by throwing stones at the mosque. After the firing, a large number of people besieged the Ghulam Mohammadabad police station and set more than 200 vehicles and motorbikes on fire.

The protesters also ransacked the police station, forcing the personnel run away. Official vehicles of Gulberg traffic sector were also torched by the mob. Police tried to disperse the mob with teargas, but failed.

The charged mob also pelted policemen with stones, injuring a few constables.

The protesters blocked the Saddar Bazaar Road, Latif Chowk and Chandni Chowk and burned tyres. A number of shells fired by police also landed in houses.

The mob also attacked and allegedly looted the house of Gol Mosque khateeb Zahid Mehmood Qasmi.

About 48 people belonging to both sects, including Mr Qasmi, were arrested.

Punjab Inspector-General of Police Tariq Saleem Dogar arrived in the city on Saturday night.

Officials of police and district administration held a meeting with Ahmed Ludhianvi, chief of the proscribed Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, and urged him to help calm the situation.

On Sunday, a mob attacked a mosque in Usman Town on the Millat Road and burned a motorcycle and a generator. Police arrested 12 people.

SSP (operations) Sarfraz Falki suspended Sargodha Road SHO Zahid Hussain for dereliction of duty.

Despite the imposition of Section 144, people belonging to the Gol Mosque sect took out a procession and held a meeting at the Clock Tower intersection.

The eight bazzars emanating from the Clock Tower remained closed.

Opinion

Editorial

Skyrocketing prices
Updated 03 Jul, 2022

Skyrocketing prices

Some sellers are seeking to take advantage of the prevailing disorder by creating artificial shortages or jacking up prices.
Flooding alert
03 Jul, 2022

Flooding alert

THE Gilgit-Baltistan government has issued an alert about the possible flooding of areas along river banks and...
Assaulting journalists
03 Jul, 2022

Assaulting journalists

ANOTHER day, another citizen roughed up for speaking his mind. The assault on veteran journalist Ayaz Amir by...
Uncertainty remains in Punjab
Updated 02 Jul, 2022

Uncertainty remains in Punjab

With the latest verdict, the judiciary seems to have unintentionally entered the political arena, which is not desirable.
Turbulence in tech
02 Jul, 2022

Turbulence in tech

THE party seems to have cooled considerably for the Pakistani start-up scene. With some of the world’s biggest...
Environmental cost
02 Jul, 2022

Environmental cost

THE collective impact of climate-disaster-health hazards are already taking a huge toll on Pakistan’s fragile...