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January 11, 2013

Drone strikes hampering Wapda employees’ recovery’

Peshawar

January 11, 2013

PESHAWAR: The authorities Thursday informed the Peshawar High Court (PHC) that their efforts for safe recovery of the kidnapped employees of Gomal Zam Dam Project by the Taliban were suffering due to US drone strikes as the kidnapers were changing locations and avoiding meeting with the officials and jirga.
Fata Additional Secretary Law and Order Riaz Mahsud informed a division bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Khalid Mehmood that negotiations between the Taliban and political administration jirga had been suspended due to drone strikes in North Waziristan.
At this, the bench directed additional chief secretary, Fata to establish a camp in Miranshah for safe recovery of the kidnapped employees and ensure his or Fata law and order secretary’s presence in the camp till recovery of the employees.
The chief justice also directed political agents of South and North Waziristan tribal region to make a joint strategy for immediate recovery of the employees. The secretary law and order informed the bench that the government had initiated serious efforts as two days ago Governor Masood Kausar had also convened a meeting and reviewed the efforts being made for safe recovery of the employees.
He stated that the governor had also asked the political agents of both the tribal agencies to appear and brief him about the ongoing efforts for recovery of the employees. The official said the political administration was also pressuring the tribes concerned in the agencies under the Collective Responsibility Section of Frontier Crimes Regulation in order to force the kidnapers to release the Wapda employees without payment of ransom.
However, the chief justice observed that the political administration had either become very weak or it did not take interest in the case. Wapda’s chief security officer-north Wali Ayaz informed the bench that their chief security officer Col (R) Mateen was in South Waziristan and stayed there for

negotiations with the Taliban for safe recovery of the Wapda employees.
He also said the Wapda as per the court order had also contacted the human rights activist Ansar Burney to play his role in safe recovery of the employees. The PHC chief justice observed that had any VIP was kidnapped, the political administration without any court’s order would have recovered him, but in this case poor employees were kidnapped. “They are the citizens of Pakistan and the government is responsible for their safe recovery. The bench fixed January 24 for next hearing of the case,” the chief justice further remarked.