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Resurgence of lawlessness triggers concern

By Munir Khan Afridi
August 14, 2023

BARA: The resurgence of lawlessness in tribal districts has triggered concerns among the people and peaceful rallies are being organised to press the government to restore a durable peace in the region.

A jirga arranged here recently brought under focus the lawlessness, which has started resurfacing in the Khyber tribal district after a relevant calm in the past.Worried about lawlessness, the tribal elders, political leaders and civil society members in their speeches asked the government to restore peace forthwith in the Bara and Tirah valley of the Khyber district.

The grand peace jirga was convened at the main Khyber Chowk in the Bara Bazaar of the Khyber district.Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami, Awami National Party’s Sardar Hussain Babak, for Khyber Siddique Chiragh Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Shahabuddin Khan, Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen, Bara Siyasi Ittehad President Shah Faisal Afridi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Abdul Ghani Afridi, JI ameer for Bara, Khan Wali Afridi, Khyber Union General Secretary Zahidullah Afridi, Pakistan Awami Inqilabi League President Attaullah Afridi, , tribal elders Malik Muhammad Hussain and others spoke on occasion.

A large number of people reached the venue from Tirah, Jamrud and Landikotal in scores of vehicles.Thousands of tribal people from Khyber district and other areas attended the peace Jirga.

The speakers said the state institutions could see the minerals in the Pakhtun belt not the terrorist elements. They called for removal of “unnecessary” checkpoints in the Tirah Valley to facilitate trouble-free movement of the local people.

The speakers sought compensation for the people, whose property was taken over for establishing security posts.

They demanded immediate vacation of the historic mosque in Lar Bagh-Maidan Markaz and property of the locals that had been used by the state for the last 10 years.

“It is the state’s responsibility to maintain peace and security in the tribal belt and protect life and property of the people. We demand the policy makers to maintain peace in the Pakhtun belt,” Senator Mushtaq Ahmad said.

He expressed concern over the re-emergence of militancy, including target killings, kidnappings, suicide blasts, occupation of public property and mosques in the Bara and Maidan area of the Tirah Valley of the Khyber district. The senator alleged that the state institutions had failed to protect the masses and tried to occupy the mineral resources, particularly in the merged districts.

He lamented that kidnappings for ransom, extortion calls and killings have increased in the area despite the presence of the law-enforcement agencies.

The JI leader questioned how the militants could kill civilians, police and others when soldiers were deployed at the mountain tops.

Sardar Hussain Babak said the tribal people would no longer tolerate terrorism as they wanted peace, job and development in the Khyber tribal district which had suffered in the last 20 years.

He said the state institutions had restored peace in other parts of the country but that was not the case with the Khyber and other districts.

Babak maintained that it was the responsibility of the state to provide security and other facilities to the masses. He said local people had already suffered due to militancy and even were displaced from native areas in the past.

The speakers said people from all Afridi tribes and political leaders would be taken into confidence and a plan chalked out for a sit-in in front of the provincial assembly and Parliament House till the restoration of peace.