Curfew imposed in Pindi after 10 killed


Authorities imposed curfew following a sectarian clash between two sects on Friday that left at least 10 killed and 100 injured.
The government imposed the curfew in the garrison city after the clashes that erupted during a Muharram procession at Fawara Chowk on Friday. Sources said the curfew would remain imposed until Sunday (today) while mobile services would also remain suspended until night.
According to Rescue 1122, the injured and bodies were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital and Benazir Bhutto Hospital. The incident occurred on Friday when the procession was passing through Raja Bazaar. When the procession reached near Darul Uloom Taleemul Quran the seminary students and the cleric of the mosque delivering a Friday sermon hurled insults at the mourners. After which both groups exchanged harsh words and pelted each others with stones. Meanwhile, some unidentified people opened fire on the mourners. This infuriated the Shia mourners and they beat up the seminary students. Later, some miscreants burnt down a portion of the mosque. Later, the miscreants also put a cloth market on fire at Raja Bazaar. Firefighters reached the scene and extinguished the fire after hectic efforts.
Several police officials, including SSP Operations Malik Sikandar Hayat, were also injured. When the situation went out of control the army was called in and curfew was imposed for 24 hours. Later the curfew was extended for another 24 hours within the limits of 19 police stations. Troops kept patrolling the city streets and all entry points into the Rawalpindi were blocked, resulting in traffic chaos.
Police spokesman Waseem Ahmed said the curfew has been imposed to avert further violence. He said that every step was being taken for the security of the people. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar took notice of the incident. The CM directed the RPO to submit a report and also announced to conduct a judicial inquiry. The attendance in the government offices and schools remained low.
Addressing a press conference, Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed demanded that the government help affected traders whose shops were burnt to ashes. Rashid appealed to the people to remain calm and respect each others’ religious beliefs.
Punjab ministers Rana Sanaullah and Ishfaq Sarwar also visited the area. The areas, where curfew is imposed include Gowalmandi, Raja Bazaar, College Road, Mareer Chowk, Benazir Bhutto Road, Dhoke Ratta, Cantonment, Adiala Road, Chakri Road, Morgah, Rawat, Karal Chowk and others. Entry points of these areas have been blocked with shipping containers and trucks.
Darul Uloom Taleemul Quran chief cleric Ashraf Ali, at a press conference at Jamia Islamia Kamran Market, claimed that a total of 14 seminary students were killed while 106 others injured.
He demanded that the government take action against the attackers.
Those killed include Mehmood, Inayatullah, Awais, Alam Zeb son of Baazullah, Zaat and Muhammad Arif, Fateh Zar Khan, Saqib and Ilam Khan. However, the names of five other deceased could not be ascertained.
Meanwhile, the Deobandi clerics took out a protest rally. While shouting anti-Shia slogans, the rally started from Jamia Islamia Saddar and marched towards Fawara Chowk. However, the army fired rubber bullets at the protesters on City Saddar Road. This created panic as the protestors started running back towards the seminary.