CHINIOT - The situation remained tense here in the wake of sectarian clashes and a heavy contingent of police was deployed in the city especially in sensitive places, amid the people blaming the police for inaction.

The Chiniot Bar Association demanded a judicial probe into the sectarian clashes and urged the religious groups to be calm and peaceful.  As the sectarian genie came out of bottle in Chiniot, over 150 were held a 350 booked on terrorism charges. The police continued patrolling in the city to thwart any untoward incident.

Earlier, an Iftar dinner was arranged at Jamia Masjid Siddiq-e-Akbar where banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq was the chief guest.  At the time of Iftar, some of the Shia community members gathered outside the mosque and started chanting sectarian slogans and opened aerial fires at the mosque.  The gunmen of Malik Ishaq retaliated. Moreover, the activists belonging to a banned Shia outfit started gathering on the site and inciting other likeminded to gather there by announcing on loudspeakers and marched towards the Masjid.

The people from Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat also gathered in the mosque and started raising slogans against their opponents. Then, a heavy contingency of police reached the spot and instead of arresting the armed men, they just dispersed them.

Later at the midnight, the Shia workers again stormed the mosque with hundreds of rounds fired on the mosque. As a result, a part of the mosque was damaged and one person Mohammad Usman, offering prayers in the mosque also got bullet wounds besides some vehicles parked outside the mosque were also damaged.

The police then reached the site and resorted to break the doors of mosque, stormed inside mosque with shoes and arrested some 97 people, most of them were busy in Taraweeh prayers. The police also claimed to have arrested 55 workers of the banned Shia outfit. Although the people were dispersed, yet tension is mounting in the city.

The social and religious elements blamed the police inaction for aggravating the situation and said that police should have taken protective measures because of the arrival of the chief of banned outfit.  Moreover, when a sectarian outfit was making announcements for volunteers for a battle, the police were informed a many times but timely action to stop those armed men within Imamgargas was not taken and they were allowed to march towards the mosque. The Chiniot DPO was not available for comments several efforts to contact him.