DI KHAN: After remaining closed for nearly a week, shops in DI Khan’s Gomal Market reopened after a jirga was convened on Thursday. An armed clash between two groups forced the closure on June 17.
The jirga, held following intervention from the district administration, negotiated a month-and-a-half-long ceasefire between the rival parties. Whoever violates the truce in this period, his shop will be sealed. In the meantime, the jirga will continue negotiations between the groups in order to arrive at a final conclusion.
The meeting was held at Circuit House in Dera following which all attendees went to Kokar village to condole with the family of Muhammad Bilal who was shot dead in the crossfire. Talking to The Express Tribune, a jirga member Faizullah said business activity had resumed in the market. “We are trying to resolve the issue through talks.”
The clash had left Bilal dead and seven others injured. Following a heated exchange, traders started hurling stones at each other. The dispute soon escalated into an armed clash.
As firing continued, police reached the site and resorted to baton-charging and tear gas to control the situation. During the fighting, women and children took shelter in shops and the police had to rescue them.
Bilal’s family had protested in front of District Headquarters and Teaching Hospital DI Khan. Tyres were burnt and Circular Road was blocked for all kinds of traffic. The incident spread panic in the city and the market, situated in the heart of DI Khan, had remained close then since.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.