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June 24, 2021

Janikhel’s march on Islamabad: Three killed in clashes as police tries to stop protesters

June 24, 2021

BANNU: Three persons were killed and scores others injured in clashes on Wednesday when police tried to stop the Janikhel tribe protesters from marching towards Islamabad, sources said.

The people in Janikhel had been protesting for the last 24 days by putting the body of a tribal elder Malik Naseeb, who was targetted and killed in the recent past.

They have refused to bury the slain elder and have been protesting against lawlessness in the area and want reassurance by the administration that such acts of violence would not happen again. The protesters announced to march to the federal capital to register their protest after talks with the administration failed on Tuesday.

The administration had deployed a large number of cops to stop the protesting Janikhel tribesmen from proceeding to Islamabad. The cops had been called from Bannu and other districts of KP for the purpose.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Sajid Ali and District Police Officer Imran Shahid were personally overseeing the entire operation to stop the protesters from embarking on the march.

The administration had deployed containers at the Tochi Bridge and several other points to restrict the movement of the protesters and stop them from the march but the protesters from Janikhel changed different routes to converge on the point and insisted on moving forward.

The police allegedly resorted to tear gas shelling and fired warning shots to stop the protesters. And the protesters responded by pelting police with stones. The clash between the police and the protesters continued for some time during which both sides allegedly damaged each other's vehicles as well.

The violence led to the killing of three people and injuries to a number of others. One of the slain persons was identified as Wajid, a resident of Bakakhel while the identity of the two others deceased could not be established.

As many as 12 policemen suffered injuries because of stone-pelting. Police arrested several protesters and took into custody the motorcycles belonging to the protesters. Some vehicles owned by the protesters were also damaged during the violence.

When the protesters were at Bakakhel, the DPO wanted to have talks with them to defuse the situation which received a positive response and the protesting tribesmen agreed to gather at the Tochi Bridge.

The Bakakhel tribal elders came forward for reconciliation and a jirga was arranged at the Tablighi Markaz. The Janikhel protesters were told that their demands were genuine but a march might lead to further tension and damage.

Dr Gul Alam Wazir and Malik Moiz Khan from the Janikhel tribe said that the agreement struck with them three months back should be implemented. They said they were sick of burying their loved ones targeted and killed.

The Janikhel tribesmen recalled that four youth had gone missing and later their charred bodies were found. They said a case should be registered and a thorough probe launched into the gory incident.

They lamented the police action against them earlier in the day and the arrests made in the area.

The Janikhel representatives demanded the registration of a case for the killing of three protesters, compensation for the losses to those whose vehicles had been damaged and release of the arrested protesters.

The Jirga members conveyed the Janikhel tribe demands to Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Zubair Niaz. He reportedly accepted the demands but said protesters would have to abandon the march plan.

The jirga members told the deputy commissioner that they would convey the administration offer to the protesters. The Bannu-Miranshah Road remained closed due to the containers placed at the Naher-Kachkot point.