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Religious clash leaves 25 dead in Pakistan
Islamabad | March 28, 2006 10:17:20 PM IST
 
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At least 25 people were killed and 30 were injured today in a clash between two rival religious factions in Khyber agency, 12 kilometres away from Peshawar.

Spokesman of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Shah Zaman Khan said that the clashes between the followers of Mufti Munir Shakir and Pir Saifur Rehman started yesterday and continued until early this morning, as they fought pitched gun battles with automatic weapons in the town of Bara.

BBC reported that the clash was about territorial control and enforcing the conflicting Muslim beliefs of the two rival clerics.Khyber agency located in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan (NWFP) is a tribal dominated region with pro-Taliban influences. However, today's clash had nothing to do with the security operations against Taliban sympathisers, BBC stated.

A local TV Geo News reported that among the dead 13 were Afghans, whose bodies were seen in a nullah (drain).

On Monday, the hardliner fundamentalist, Mufti Munir Shakir who strongly opposes secular Sufi interpretation of Islam of rival Afghan cleric, Pir Saifur Rehman was reported to have initiated the attack killing at least 16 people.

Today's clash was retaliation by Rehman's supporters.

Both factions used to run illegal FM radio stations to carry out propaganda against their rivals.

The tension between the rival factions was simmering for a long time back and today it was on boil. Attempts to resolve the dispute through a jirga (tribal assembly) had yielded no positive result till date.

FATA spokesman Zaman Khan informed that paramilitary forces have been deployed to bring the situation under control and the Government is attempting to bring an early resolution through the jirga. (ANI)

 

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