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Shiite Muslims end week-long daily protest in NW Pakistan

Associated Press logo Associated Press 30/06/2017 By HUSSAIN AFZAL, Associated Press
Membersof a civil society group take part in demonstration to condemn last week's twin bombings in Parachinar, the center of Kurram region, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, June 30, 2017. Thousands of Pakistani Shiites are pressing on with their sit-in, now in its seventh consecutive day, in a northwestern tribal region where twin bombings at a market killed 75 people last week. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) © The Associated Press Membersof a civil society group take part in demonstration to condemn last week's twin bombings in Parachinar, the center of Kurram region, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, June 30, 2017. Thousands of Pakistani Shiites are pressing on with their sit-in, now in its seventh consecutive day, in a northwestern tribal region where twin bombings at a market killed 75 people last week. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

PARACHINAR, Pakistan — Prominent Pakistani Shiite leader Muzzamal Hussain announced Friday the end of week-long daily protests following army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa's visit to the northwestern tribal town of Parachinar where twin bombings at a market killed 75 people.

"We are immediately ending protests in all parts of Pakistan," he told reporters.

Hussain said most of their demands were accepted.

Thousands of minority Shiite Muslims were protesting in the main city of Parachinar in Kurram tribal region since June 23, when a Sunni militant group orchestrated the attacks. During his meeting with tribal elders, Bajwa said authorities arrested the "local facilitators and abettors" linked to the bombings.

He said the detainees will be tried by a military court.

Bajwa did not disclose their identities but Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian Sunni extremist group, has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

"While there is clear evidence of hostile foreign hands in recent incidents, local facilitators and abettors have been apprehended who will be tried in military courts," he said.

Bajwa said additional troops would be deployed to Kurram and that the government will be install CCTV cameras as part of its "safe-city project." He also said the Pakistani army is currently erecting fences along restive tribal regions on the Afghan border.

He said the entire 2,400-kilometer border will be fenced in the second phase to check cross border movement of militants.

Bajwa promised action against the troops that opened fire and killed four demonstrators. He said local youth will also be trained to protect Parachinar, the main city in Kurram tribal region that has been a scene of violence from militants and sectarian conflict between the majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims.

Bajwa further promised to provide better health and education facilities for the residents of Kurram.

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Associated Press Writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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