Saturday August 13, 2022

Roads blocked, businesses closed against target-killing in North Waziristan

By Our Correspondent
August 05, 2022

MIRANSHAH: Following the failure of talks between the Uthmazai elders and the government officials, almost all the main and link roads were blocked, traffic halted and business centres closed to protest the target-killings and lawlessness in North Waziristan tribal district on Thursday.

People hailing from all walks of life, including traders and transporters’ unions have announced support to the protest and sit-in being staged by the elders of the Uthmanzai, Wazir and Dawar tribes in the entire North Waziristan.

Routine life came to a standstill after the protesters barricaded the roads with stones, closed down the bazaars and business markets in the tribal district.

Ove a million of the population are facing great hardships due to the ongoing large-scale protest drive and closure of 20,000 shops and other trade centres.

However, medical stores and hotels were allowed to run their businesses to facilitate the residents in the prevailing situation.

Speaking to the sit-in being held at Eidak in Mir Ali tehsil, the elders said that, on one hand, living a life had become difficult for them due to rising incidents of target-killing and lawlessness in North Waziristan while, on the other, their resources were being snatched from them. They said that they would extend their protest drive to other areas to press the government for acceptance of their demands.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Shahid Ali Khan said that they would soon find a solution to the issues. He said that they would leave no stone unturned to make North Waziristan the citadel of peace and prosperity.

It may be mentioned that the grand jirga of elders of all tribes in North Waziristan had earlier asked the government to restore lasting peace and stop target killing or else they would launch a strong protest movement for their rights.

The two-week protest sit-in staged by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl against the killing of religious scholars and JUIF activists Qari Samiuddin and Hafiz Nauman had turned into a grand jirga, which had passed several resolutions.

Announcing declaration at the end of the jirga, the elders said that Afghan Highway - Bannu-Miranshah road would be blocked for traffic to protest the rising incidents of target-killing in North Waziristan.

They had also banned the elders and Maliks or tribes’ chieftains not to visit government offices, including the tehsil municipal administration as a mark of protest against the lawlessness.

The people of the entire North Waziristan tribal district, they said, would not vaccinate their children against the poliovirus and there would be a complete boycott of polio immunisation drives in future. The elders had said that protest-sin would be shifted to Islamabad if the demands for the restoration of lasting peace and permanent halt to target-killing were not met forthwith. The elders also convened the meeting of grand jirga of North Waziristan, Bakakhel and Janikhel tribes to devise the strategy for a stronger protest movement.

The declaration had said that nothing less than restoration of lasting peace and putting a halt to target-killing would be accepted.

Religious scholars Qari Samiuddin and Hafiz Nauman were shot dead after gunmen riding motorcycle ambushed their vehicle in Eidak area in the Mir Ali tehsil. Samiuddin was an administrator at a religious seminary in the area and a local leader of the JUIF.

He was regarded as a strong voice against lawlessness and targeted killings in the area. Hafiz Nauman was a local councillor, who also belonged to JUIF.

North Waziristan has witnessed a spate of killings over the past several months.

Locals say unidentified armed men target people who raise their voice for peace or who challenge the presence of armed groups in the area.