MIRAMSHAH: Situation in North Waziristan has been quite tense after a rocket attack on a military checkpoint in Miramshah at night, which prompted security forces to blow up several private buildings and medical centres, causing the death of a five-year-old girl.
Security officials and tribal sources said unknown people on Monday night fired a rocket at the security checkpoint near Miramshah Stadium but it did not cause any loss of life or damage to property.
The troops retaliated with mortar and artillery shelling towards the direction the rocket had been fired from. The incident prompted security forces to clamp curfew in North Waziristan on Tuesday, the second day of Eidul Azha. The troops later came out of the nearby military camp and started demolishing private buildings in the town.
The sources said the troops blew up several private buildings in the town through explosives, complaining that someone hiding in one of these buildings had fired the rocket at the checkpoint.
The troops blew up a six-storey private surgical centre, Shawal Surgical Centre, two four-storeyed hotels, 41 medical stores and a number of shops in the Miramshah Bazaar. Several explosions during demolition of buildings rocked Miramshah and its adjoining villages.
The blasts were so powerful that three blocks at the adjacent Agency Headquarters Hospital Miramshah, including dental block, medical block, emergency block and an operation theatre, were also razed to the ground while other buildings developed cracks.
The explosions also caused damage to nearby houses. One such home fell and killed a five-year-old girl. Tribal elders and members of the North Waziristan Agency Peace Committee resented destruction of private buildings without any prior notices to them. They said it was beyond their understanding as to how the troops punished the whole of Waziristan by destroying their buildings for the crime committed by an individual.
Also, members of peace committee, which brokered a peace accord between the army and local Taliban led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur in the year 2007, accused military authorities of violating the agreement. Under the peace accord, they said, the military authorities and political administration were required to take them into confidence before taking any action or launching an operation.
They complained that the military authorities neither issued any notices to owners of the buildings nor was any inquiry ordered before the military action. The incident, they added, had enraged the tribesmen and members of the peace committee.
Local tribesmen said the latest development had created tension in the volatile region and people suspected the government was planning to launch a military operation in the region. Tribal elders and members of Waziristan Amn Committee condemned targeting of private properties and appealed to the president, army chief, governor and corps commander of Peshawar to take note of the incident that caused over Rs120 million losses to the people.