CHINIOT - Ten persons were injured in crossfire between groups of rivals sects during clashes erupted over profane wall chalking while the district administration imposed Section 144 and the police conducted a flag march to strangle unrest in the city. As per details, the residents spotted some blasphemous writings on many walls in Mohallah Tarkhan and the news made rounds in the entire city like a wild fire. Within no time, traders shutdown shops and markets and a large number of people took to the streets against the blasphemous act. Meanwhile, a big procession marched towards the site of blasphemous wall chalking.

According to police, on information a heavy contingency of police led by City DSP Alam Sher reached and intercepted the procession near Shadi Malang Mohallah. The police officials warned them to end the procession, fearing sectarian clashes but some armed men opened fire on police. In the meanwhile, persons from the rival group also started firing as a result 10 persons were injured including Abid, Liaqat Abbas, Ali Jawad, Imran, Umar Farooq, Hakim Ullah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hamza, Abdul Wahid and Imam Ali.

Tension gripped the entire city, prompting closure of bazaars while the streets wore a deserted look. Following the deteriorating situation, the police and district administration conducted a flag march to evoke security and avert any contingency.

TMO Azmat Qadir Goraya also rushed to the spot and removed the blasphemous wall chalking from all walls of city. On the other hand, a delegation of traders led by Anjuman-e-Tajran President Sheikh Nadeem Ahmad and office bearers Amjed Farzand and Bashir Ahmad Butt met DCO Dr Irshad Ahmed and demanded protection of their businesses. They were of the view that the poor law and order situation had badly affected their businesses. On the occasion, the DCO assured them of foolproof security at which they announced reopening their business activities on Sunday (today).

Meanwhile, the City Police registered a case against unidentified accused for spreading hate material while another case against 40 to 50 armed men from the procession who shot at the police and other group under 7 ATA and sealed the FIR. However, no arrest could be made till filing of this report.

Moreover, DPO Munir Zia also convened a meeting of the Peace committee wherein Ulema from all sects condemned the wall chalking and firing incidents and assured their role to maintain peace and tranquillity in the city.

Heavy police contingents continued patrolling the city areas to thwart any untoward incident While, the DCO imposed Section 144 in city, banning the processions or meetings except scheduled majalis and Chehlum processions.

Talking to media persons, DPO Muir Zia said that the law and order was in control while separate cases had been registered against unidentified culprits for blasphemous walk chalking and those who fired on police personnel and rival groups. He claimed that identity of the culprits would be established and they would soon be behind the bars.