PARACHINAR: The protesters, who held protest against twin blasts in Parachinar that killed more than 76 people, has wrapped up their demonstration after visit of Army Chief. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Parachinar on Friday to meet with the families of the victims of the twin blasts that tore through the city last week, a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
Shortly after he arrived in the city, Gen Bajwa was briefed and given an update about the security situation in Parachinar where at least 72 were killed and 200 others were injured. The army chief met with tribal elders and members of the Shia community in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram Agency a mainly Shia area in the tribal belt
Members of the Shia community have been protesting against government inaction following the bombings and had demanded a visit from the Gen Bajwa and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. During a meeting with the COAS, the Shia community presented a list of 11 demands which includes Rs5 million compensation for those killed in the attack, and Rs2.5m for those injured.
The protesters have also demanded that the Frontier Constabulary (FC), currently deployed in the city, be replaced by the militia force for the security of Parachinar, and that FC Commandant Malik Umer be removed from his post. They demanded that a report on terrorist incidents in Parachinar should be made public and the Pak-Afghan border be secured.
“The demands that have been made by the protesters are political and concerned with security,” ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said, briefing the media.
The army chief has issued instructions on matters concerned with security, the DG said, adding that the COAS has announced the development of a safe city project for Parachinar. “The process of fencing the Pak-Afghan border is underway and will be completed in two phases,” Gen Ghafoor added. In the first phase, sensitive locations on the border will be fenced; whereas in the second phase the rest of the border will be fenced, the DG elaborated.
About security demands, he said under the direction of COAS more army troops had been deployed in the area. The COAS had also announced several development projects for the area, adding “the security situation in the area will be improved after the measures,”. The army chief had reportedly attempted to fly to Parachinar earlier this week, before being forced to turn back due to inclement weather.
The twin explosions that tore through the city last Friday were the third terrorist attack that Parachinar has witnessed in 2017. At least 24 people were killed in January in a bomb attack claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami and a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Sheheryar Mehsud. In March, a second attack in another market killed 22 people. The attack was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar. Friday’s assault also claimed by the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami brought the town’s loss of life due to terror attacks up to 115, more than any one city in Pakistan has suffered so far this year.