Peshawar church blasts: Death toll spirals to 83 amid grief filled protests

| September 29, 2013

PESHAWAR: As the death toll from the Peshawar church blasts mounted on Monday there was a visible escalation in the intensity of protests — with the enormity of the tragedy sinking in more deeply into the national pysche.

Some 24 hours after the blasts, enraged Christians took to the streets in several parts of the country — some protested peacefully, while others resorted to violence — as the number of those killed in the twin blasts climbed to 83.

The most violent protest was reported from Karachi where mobs — of Christians and Muslims — clashed with each other for several hours in the Khulfa-e-Rashideen Colony, Korangi area. There were incidents of arson, in which one house was gutted while another was partially burnt. Aerial firing was also reported and one man was killed by a stray bullet.

After five hours of rioting, Rangers and police personnel finally took around two dozen suspects into custody.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, more than 600 protesters blocked a major city highway for several hours during the Monday morning rush hour, causing long tailbacks.

In Peshawar itself, demonstrators took to the streets, smashing windows at the Lady Reading Hospital, where many of the victims were still being treated.

New K-P IGP appointed

In a key reshuffle, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa IGP Ahsan Ghani was replaced by Nasir Khan Durrani, senior government officials informed The Express Tribune. “The decision was taken at the highest level,” said one official. The appointment of the IGP is at the prime minister’s discretion.

Secretary Establishment Division Shahid Rashid also confirmed the appointment, “We issued the notification on Monday.”

Durrani was working as Punjab Counter Terrorism Department Additional Inspector General Police. Officials claimed that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar recommended his name after K-P CM Khattak sought Durrani, a reputed police officer.

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