PESHAWAR: A large number of people on Wednesday staging a sit-in alongside 15 bodies of their loved ones in front of Governor House in Peshawar were forced to disperse after police resorted to baton charges and firing tear gas, Express News reported.
A delegation of Bara tribal elders were invited in to talk over terms for ending the protest and burying the dead.
The negotiations were reportedly successful, with the governor assuring the tribesmen that those innocent men of Bara in custody will be released, the victims given Rs0.4 million each and a commission formed to probe the murders.
However, late at night, when the delegation of elders returned to the gathered protesters with the demands agreed to, the protesters balked and vowed to continue their sit-in till the government ends an operation in the tribal area.
Soon after, police arrived and forced the protesters to disperse. Officers fired tear gas and loaded the caskets into trucks and shifted them to a morgue.
Earlier tribesmen gathered outside governor house in Peshawar to protest against killing of their people whose mutilated bodies were recovered from the Bara area of Khyber Agency on Tuesday evening.
The bullet-riddled bodies were found in the Alam Gudar area. The bodies of a woman and two children killed in the incident were not brought to the sit-in.
Reporters and media personnel present on the protest site estimated that around 5,000 people took part in the sit-in on Sher Shah Suri Road, right in front of Governor House.
Bara tribesmen stage sit-in outside Governor House. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
The protesters, including family members of the deceased and social activists, chanted slogans against the army and the security agencies stationed in Khyber Agency and blamed them for the killings.
The tribesmen from Bara said that the people killed were not militants but ordinary citizens, who they said were murdered in cold blood by the security agencies.
Express News reported that a scuffle broke out as Senator Hameedullah Jan Afridi attempted to address the sit-in.
The mob attacked the senator by hurling stones and shoes at him. Soon after, a supporter who was accompanying Afridi fired in the air to disperse the mob and the senator was escorted to his car to escape the clash.
The protestors said that they had not seen the senator, who hails from the Bara region, for almost four and a half years. They said that Afridi resided peacefully in Islamabad, while the situation in Bara worsened over the years.
A 12-member delegation has been constituted to negotiate with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s governor. The committee will put forth the demands of the protestors, including ending military offensive in Bara and compensating the heirs.
Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that there were 18 bodies at the sit-in instead of 15.