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Protest Ends In Pakistan After Army Chief Agrees To Security Demands

Pakistani Shi'ite Muslims stage a protest on June 30 against the killing of their community members in twin bomb blasts at a market in Parachinar, capital of Kurram tribal district on June 24.

PARACHINAR, Pakistan -- A week-long protest in a northwestern tribal region of Pakistan came to an end on June 30 after army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa agreed to the demands of demonstrators for greater security.

Thousands of protesters -- most of them from Pakistan's Shi'a minority -- have been staging the sit-in demonstration in Parachinar since a twin bombing in a market there on June 23 that killed 75 people.

In a statement, Pakistan’s military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor says Bajwa had met the security demands of the demonstrators.

Sajid Turi, a lawmaker in Pakistan’s National Assembly who represents Parachinar and has been involved in the protests, told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal on June 30 that the demonstrators are satisfied because Bajwa had accepted all of their demands.

That includes promises to bolster security, greater government compensation for relatives of the bombing victims, and the accountability of military officers and soldiers responsible for firing on protesters.

"We have ended the sit-in demonstration," Turi told Radio Mashaal. "We are satisfied with [Bajwa’s] actions and promises."

Turi said that, even before Bajwa visited Parachinar on June 30 and met with protest leaders, senior army officers in the region had agreed to the demands.

"But our youth insisted that they will end the sit-in after the army chief visited Parachinar," Turi said.

At least three demonstrators were reportedly killed earlier in the week when security forces fired on the crowd in an attempt to force the protesters to disperse.

The demonstrators had demanded that the commander of the paramilitary regiment responsible for firing on the protesters be dismissed.

They also demanded that a new security plan be enforced in the Kurram tribal district near the border with Afghanistan and that local leaders have some input in the new plan.

Another demand concerned greater compensation payments for the families of those killed in the twin bombing and that local tribesmen be inducted into paramilitary forces that provide security in the district.

Radio Mashaal correspondent Majeed Babar contributed reporting from Prague. With reporting by Al-Jazeera, Reuters, and AP

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    Radio Mashaal

    Radio Mashaal is a public-service broadcaster providing a powerful alternative to extremist propaganda in Pakistan's remote tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.