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Javed Aziz Khan
Thursday, January 17, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

PESHAWAR: Enraged tribesmen hailing from the Khyber Agency on Wednesday staged a protest and placed the bodies of their near and dear ones, killed in Bara Tehsil a day earlier, outside the Governor House here.

 

Hundreds of protesters carrying the coffins of 15 tribesmen, killed inside their homes on Tuesday night, marched from Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency to the Governor House in Peshawar and staged a sit-in.

 

The protesters accused the law enforcers of killing the innocent tribesmen, adding that they were not allowed to bring the bodies of women and children, who were also killed in Tuesday night’s indiscriminate firing.

 

Security forces denied the allegations, claiming that militants had shot dead the tribesmen. The dead also included the father and four brothers of a soldier, Shabbir. The security personnel manning checkposts in Pishtakhara reportedly tried to stop the protesters from entering Peshawar. However, the enraged protesters refused to go back.

 

Heavy contingents of police and army cordoned off the Governor House when the tribesmen placed the cots and caskets containing the bodies on the main Sher Shah Suri Road, vowing not to leave unless action was taken against the culprits.

 

The Sher Shah Suri Road was blocked from the Peshawar Central Prison up to the FC Chowk in Saddar and the traffic was diverted to other routes.The demonstrators sought formation of an impartial commission to probe the killings and called for suspension of the relevant military and administrative officials.

 

A number of political leaders addressed the demonstrators at the sit-in. A handout late in the evening said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar met with a jirga representing the protesters.

 

Later, talking to reporters, the governor disclosed the decisions taken at the jirga and declared to hold an independent inquiry into the tragic incident. He announced to provide Rs0.4 million special compensation to the family of each slain person in addition to the normal compensation amounting to Rs0.3 million.

 

The police refused to let the participants of the sit-in continue their protest and fired teargas shells at 12:30am to disperse the tribesmen. According to latest reports, the coffins were forcibly taken to the city morgue by police. The protesters scuffled with police but shelling dispersed them.