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Grief, anger as Peshawar buries its dead
Publication Date : 24-09-2013
Violent protests paralysed life in the provincial capital and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as death toll from the twin suicide bombings at a church rose to 83 on Monday.
Demonstrations, mourning processions and movement of VIPs forced vehicles to remain off the road in Peshawar.
Enraged activists of the Christian community pelted vehicles with stones, blocked roads and held rallies on thoroughfares to vent their anger over Sunday’s suicide attacks on the All Saints Church.
On the other hand, relatives and friends remained busy burying their near and dear ones in Gora Qabristan and Wazir Bagh graveyard.
Sensing gravity of the situation, police made adequate arrangements to avert any untoward incident and placed barbed wire on main roads in an attempt to confine the protesters to their localities. The measures disrupted traffic on Sher Shah Soori, GT and University roads.
The stick-wielding protesters coming from Bara Gate, Umeedabad and Peshtakhara blocked Bara Road and those coming from Tehkal blocked the University Road. A group of youths also fired shots in the air. The protesters’ main target was Khyber and GT roads where old tyres were set on fire near Suri Pul, forcing vehicles to remain stuck up at Malak Saad Khan flyover and in Khyber Bazaar.
Police deployed at checkpoints also forced the protesters to return to their areas. Commuters faced hardship while travelling between the cantonment and the city.
The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans demanding protection for minorities and immediate arrest of culprits involved in the tragic incident.
Because of the absence of public transport and other vehicles, a large number of people had to reach their places of work by foot. Motorcycles were also not allowed on roads.
Police remained fully alert around the church in Kohati Gate where community people offered prayers for the dead and for early recovery of the injured.
Almost all shopping centers in Peshawar were closed to express solidarity with Christians. All missionary schools remained closed.
The provincial government and different political parties had on Sunday announced a three-day mourning.
According to a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital, 214 injured people were brought to the hospital while five of them died on Monday. Sixty-seven of the injured, including 28 women, were discharged after treatment.
Of the 83 deceased, 36 are stated to be women.
Police registered a case against unidentified terrorists. A four-member committee has been set up to investigate the suicide attacks.
City Circle SP Ismail Kharak said police were investigating the incident from different angles and trying to get clues which could lead to the facilitators of the bombers in the city.
Protests were also held in other parts of the province, including Malakand Agency, Nowshera, Dera Ismail Khan and Karak. The protesters demanded an end to terrorist attacks on minorities.
AFP adds: The protesters gathered outside the ill-fated church also raised slogans against Imran Khan. His Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf heads the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some of the protesters shouted abusive slogans against Khan.