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Villagers from the northwest with the bodies of their relatives protest outside the governor’s house in the provincial capital of Peshawar, yesterday.
PESHAWAR: Around 300 Pakistanis protested yesterday against the killing of 14 people in an overnight raid, blaming the security forces and refusing to bury the dead until they get justice.
The protesters gathered outside the governor’s house in the northwestern city of Peshawar along with the bodies.
Armed men attacked five homes at Bara in the northwestern tribal district of Khyber and killed 14 people, said local resident Muhammad Shabbir.
“They entered our houses and killed our relatives to avenge the killing of six security personnel in the same area of Bara on Monday night,” Shabbir, a former member of the Frontier Corps paramilitary said.
Security and military officials denied that security forces were involved and said it was militants who attacked the homes.
Shabbir said his father, five brothers and two cousins were among the dead.
Pakistani troops have been fighting Islamist militants and local militia for months in Khyber, which is part of the semi-autonomous tribal district on the Afghan border where the Taliban and other Islamist groups have strongholds.
“We demand an end to the ongoing military operation in Bara, that the curfew be lifted, action taken against those involved in the killings and compensation for the families of the dead,” Shabbir added.
Yesterday’s protest was the second of its type in a week in Pakistan. Islamic custom dictates that the dead should be buried on the same day or a day later.
In the southwestern city of Quetta, thousands of Shiite Muslims demonstrated for four days after the worst-ever bomb attack on their minority community in Pakistan killed 92 people.
They refused to bury the dead until the army took over.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who sacked the provincial government to end the Quetta protest, ordered the governor to address the grievances of the Peshawar protesters through talks with community elders.
“The prime minister said that all necessary assistance and cooperation would be extended by the federal government for early resolution of this unfortunate incident,” his office said in a statement.
Last month, Amnesty International said both the Pakistan military and the Taliban were guilty of rights abuses in the tribal belt. The military rejected the allegations as a “pack of lies”.