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Pakistani Shia Muslims stage a protest against the killing of their community members in a twin bombing in Lahore on June 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
People in the Pakistani city of Parachinar have taken to the streets to demand better security following last week’s bomb attacks that killed dozens.
A senior government official in Parachinar said that tens of thousands on Thursday joined a sit-in protest that had been underway since Friday’s attacks when two bombs went off in a crowded market in the city, killing 75 people, mostly Shia Muslims who were shopping for a meal marking the end of their fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
A former senator, Allama Abid al-Hussaini, said around 70,000 people attended the sit-in, centered in a town park.
Protests for better security in Parachinar escalated after police reportedly shot dead three demonstrators to keep order. Authorities have launched an investigation but they have fallen short of confirming the deaths.
People are also angry at the way Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought to alleviate their sufferings, saying the compensation offered by him to the families of the victims have been lower than other areas in Pakistan. Sharif announced 1 million rupees ($10,000) compensation for the families of those killed in the blasts and 500,000 rupees for those wounded.
Pakistani Shia Muslim supporters chant slogans as they sit in protest against lack of security for residents of Parachinar during a demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, June 27, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
During the protest on Thursday, people demanded a visit by Sharif and the army chief to Parachinar.
“We are tired of picking up the dead bodies of our people,” said Arshad Umerzai, a former provincial government minister.
Allama Fida Mazahiri, a religious leader, said people were particularly angry at the alleged killing of protesters in police firing.
“We have sided with the security forces at every turn in fighting terrorism ... but the firing on protesters is uncalled for and action needs to be taken,” he said.
Security was tight around the protest site while journalists were asked for special permission to travel to Parachinar to cover the sit-in.
Parachinar, part of Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, is located just near the border with Afghanistan. Muslims in the city have suffered from lack of security, especially in recent months.
About 50 people were killed in two bomb attacks this year before Friday’s blasts. 

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