PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Several thousand people rallied today in northwestern Pakistan, denouncing the killing of 18 local villagers in an overnight raid they blamed on security forces and displaying the victims’ bodies in the provincial capital in a sign of protest.
The outcry came as thousands of supporters of a fiery Muslim cleric continued their anti-government protest in the capital, Islamabad, for a third day, paralyzing key areas of the city.
The deaths of the villagers occurred late Tuesday in an area known as Khyber Agency. It’s part of the tribal region where the Pakistani military has been waging a campaign against Islamic militants. Human rights groups and residents claim the operations are often laced with abuse and cause civilian casualties.
About 3,000 people gathered today outside the house of the governor of northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Peshawar. They said gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed homes in their area and shot the villagers dead.
The protesters called on the military to end its operations in the Bara area where the shooting occurred.