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`28 involved in sectarian violence in Rawalpindi identified`

Last Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 18:02

Lahore: Pakistani authorities on Thursday claimed they had identified 28 people involved in the recent sectarian clashes in the garrison city of Rawalpindi that claimed 11 lives.

"We have identified 28 people through video footage who were involved in attacking places of worship of a rival sect and damaging public property," Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said.

Talking to reporters here, he said the government of Punjab province would soon arrest all those identified.

At least 11 people belonging to the Shia and Sunni sects were killed and dozens injured during clashes that erupted while a Muharram procession by Shias was making its way through Rawalpindi on November 15.

Authorities identified suspects from photo images and video footage of TV channels that were obtained by security agencies, officials said.

Investigators contacted the National Database and Registration Authority and obtained details of the suspects, including their cell phone numbers.

Police have so far taken 40 people into custody from different areas of Rawalpindi.

A government fact-finding committee today quizzed three senior police officials - Zaheem Shiekh, Bilal Saddiq Kamyana and Dar Ali Khattak - who were removed for negligence of duty and recorded their statements.

Kamyana, in-charge of police in Rawalpindi, was reportedly in the tourist resort of Murree when the violence erupted.

Sectarian tensions flared in Rawalpindi despite extensive security arrangements put in place by the government for the Islamic month of Muharram, during which Shias have been frequently targeted by extremists in recent years.

The tensions later spread to the country`s northwest, and curfew was imposed and the army called out in three cities.

First Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 18:02

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