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- Sunday, November 27, 2011 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: Elders of the Khugakhel tribe that lives in the border area in Mohmand Agency where the Nato air raid took place in the early hours on Saturday have claimed that the real international border is at least nine kilometres inside Afghanistan and not at the Salala security check-post in the Anargai Ghakhi mountain peak that was bombed and strafed by the US gunship helicopters.


Speaking on behalf of the Khugakhel Mohmand tribal elders who met him Saturday after the Nato air raid, former provincial minister Iftikhar Mohmand said the Nato raid would not have taken place at the Salala post if Pakistan had not given up its rightful claim on this piece of land inhabited by the Khugakhel tribe.


He said their tribe hadn’t given up its claim on this piece of land. “Our Khugakhel tribe is living there, and it considers itself Pakistani. We have complained to the Pakistan government in the past as well, and we are reiterating our complaint about why Islamabad gave up this territory and accepted the Durand Line border at the Anargai Ghakhi mountain peak by setting up the Salala security post there,” he argued.


Iftikhar Mohmand is from the Azadkhel section of the Khugakhel Mohmand tribe. His grandfather, Khan Abdul Mateen Khan, was head of the tribe. His father, Sattar Mohmand, and the Khugakhel tribe had chosen to become part of Pakistan in 1947 at the time of independence and as loyal Pakistanis agreed to accept the “lungi” and “maajib” allowances that the government awarded to tribal elders.


“My father was awarded one rupees yearly as allowance. As you know, the amount didn’t matter because what mattered was the recognition and respect given by the Pakistan government to the tribe and its elders,” Iftikhar Mohmand explained. His family migrated to Takht Bhai area in Mardan district later, bought land and rose in local politics. Iftikhar Mohmand won election as MPA a number of times and served as provincial minister.