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Tribesmen protest in Peshawar with 18 bodies

January 16, 2013 18:02 IST
Tribesmen from Khyber Agency staged a protest in front of the governor's house in Peshawar on Wednesday against the killing of 18 people whose mutilated bodies were recovered from the Alam Gudar area situated in Bara sub-division.  

Around 6,000 people took part in the sit-in on the Sher Shah Suri Road with caskets and bodies of family members who were killed on Tuesday.

Apart of relatives of the victims, students and other tribesmen from Peshwar and other adjoining areas joined the protest. Blaming security forces deployed at Khyber Agency for the killings, protesters chanted slogans against them. "We demand court martial for the security forces involved," they said.

Ahmed Afridi, a young tribal from the Bara area, said, "The people being killed are not militants, they are innocent tribesmen. The security forces have killed them brutally."  

The protest turned violent with the crowd stoning the vehicle of National Assembly member Hamidullah Jan Afridi. His guard opened fire at the tribesmen leaving one injured and further infuriating them.      

The law and order situation has deteriorated at the Khyber Agency in the last few weeks. Security forces and private militia of the Zakhakhail tribe are fighting against the militant group Lashkar-e-Islam that has forced local tribesmen to evacuate the area.

Earlier, the LeI and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were at loggerheads, but its slain commander Mangal Bagh and Hakimullah Mehsud entered an agreement. The two terror outfits are now launching attacks in the semi-tribal areas of Darra Adamkhai. 

Militant activities have affected Peshawar and its suburbs and also the Khyber Agency.

Wednesday's sit-in is the second in the week following the protest by the Hazara Shea community in Quetta who braved three nights in freezing temperatures next to 83 bodies of those were killed in a suicide bombing at Alamdar Road in Quetta. They ended their protests and buried the bodies after the federal government accepted their demands for protection by sacking the provincial government.
Tahir Ali is Rawalpindi