BHAKKAR - Rana Imran Aslam - Curfew remained imposed in Bhakkar and other nearby areas on Saturday on second consecutive day as tension persisted after Friday’s deadly incident which claimed 12 lives. As many as 17 people were still missing following the sectarian clashes.

Tension was in fact escalated once again and gunshots were heard and violence reported in Darya Khan, Kotla Jam, after the funeral prayer was offered for four abductees whose bodies were recovered after an armed clash.

Bhakkar city presented a deserted look on Saturday as people mourned their dead and injured. The businesses, routine life and academic activities remained suspended due to curfew in various areas. The death toll from Friday’s sectarian clash reached at 12 as an injured, Riaz Riaz Hussain, who was taken to Nishter Hospital Multan, scrummed to his wounds.

An indefinite curfew was imposed from 10am onwards in Bhakkar and other restive districts on Saturday in order to ward off any further violence. The decision to clamp curfew was taken earlier in a meeting chaired by Sargodha commissioner.

Police officials said the curfew will remain enforced until further orders in Bhakkar, Darya Khan, Kotla Jam, Panj Garaeen, and Kahawar Kalan as these districts are most vulnerable to violence. Punjab Chief Secretary Javed Aslam said the curfew will remain effective until the situation returned to normalcy.

Education EDO Qazi Zahoor Hussain said all the institutes will remain closed in the areas under curfew. DPOfficer Sarfaraz Falki told a private news channel that additional contingents of police and rangers have been deployed in the restive districts.

The chief secretary chaired a meeting on law and order situation in Bhakkar. The secretary said no one will be allowed to violate the law, and strict action will be initiated against the perpetrators involved in the sectarian clashes.