Govt slammed as celebratory fire claims lives of 2 children
Following a tough fight, Afghanistan thrashed Scotland by 14 runs in the final over. The highlight of the event was a strong partnership between Mohammad Shahzad and skipper Asghar Stanikzai.
At the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Shahzad smashed 61 off 39 deliveries while Stanikzai hit an unbeaten 55 to help Afghanistan post a formidable total of 170 for the loss of five wickets.
Cricket fans, expressing jubilation over the national team’s first T20 World Cup victory, danced and fired gunshots in different parts of the country. The wild celebrations stretched into dawn.
In Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, two children were killed in happy fire, the governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told Pajhwok Afghan News. The boys were aged eight and 12.
But police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal confirmed the death of only one child in the gunfire. “We aired a warning on a local television channel against gunfire on such occasions. But people ignored our warning yet again.”
A resident of the city, Tariq, said one of the victims was his cousin Istiraj, who was hit by a bullet while sleeping in his house. He assailed the government for failing to prevent such firing.
He claimed most of the gunshots were fired by policemen in violation of the law. “If the government punisheseven one perpetrator publicly, the people will not dare fire again on such occasions,” he believed.
Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and civil society activists demanded an immediate halt to aerial firing. Sabrina Hameedi, AIHRC director,called such firing a violation of human rights.
She told Pajhwok celebratory firing had become a trend in Jalalabad, a practice the authorities must discourage in the interest of residents’ security.
Abdul Basir Sabawon, head of the Positive Change Organisation, told reporters the government had failed to halt celebratory fire. He said residents were worried over indiscriminate gunshots, which usually resulted in loss of precious lives.
Zabihullah Zmarai, the provincial council chief, alleged security institutions had miserably failed to prevent aerial firing.
Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, said a special mechanism had been evolved and the governor would punish the officialsfailing to prevent such gunshots.
He acknowledged the overnight celebratory fire, saying the governor had orderedthe authorities concerned to identify the perpetrators.
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