Fragile peace

November 5, 2023

Another ceasefire has been negotiated by elders from Orakzai and Hangu

Fragile peace


 conflict erupted in the Kurram district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on October 24 over a controversial video. Gradually, it turned the whole district into a battlefield.

Former MNA Fakhar Zaman has informed The News on Sunday that tribal elders and administrators from Orakzai and Hangu have finally brokered a ceasefire in Kurram. “All routes in Kurram have been restored and both sides have vacated their positions,” says Zaman. “Over the coming days, more jirgas will be held between the two sides to make a principled decision and possibly impose a fine for any breach of agreement by either party this time,” he says.

According to journalist Riaz Chamkani from Central Kurram, a controversial video showing a local person surfaced on the 23rd. The local people protested and demanded an arrest. On the 24th, people from two Turi tribes were killed by unknown people. The incident fuelled the conflict.

Riaz says that after this incident a clash occurred near a village inhabited predominantly by Sunni individuals over the construction of an Iman Bargah, after which, tension spread throughout the district.

Iqbal Hussain Iqbal, a journalist from Lower Kurram, says that a case has also been registered by the government over the controversial video and a raid has been conducted in Parachinar for an arrest. However, he says, no arrest was made.

Iqbal Hussain also says that after the tension, the entire Sada Bazaar was closed and silence prevailed everywhere. He says many people were scared and confined to their homes.

Muhammad Tariq, a social activist from Kurram, tells TNS that many people, including the tribal elders, were contacted when the violence escalated. “We asked the tribal elders to intervene and play their role in ending this conflict. Still, it did not end before several deaths.

Journalist Iqbal Hussain Iqbal says that the death toll could increase many times over. He says that so far, no accurate accounting has happened. During the clash in Sada Bazaar, many people had difficulty receiving pensions due to the internet breakdown. During this time, NADRA’s work was also suspended.

Speaking of the death toll, journalist Riaz Chamkani says that during the clash, there were reports that both parties were hiding the number of deaths.

According to Muhammad Tariq, the history of sectarian conflicts in Kurram dates back to 1961. He says deadly clashes were also reported in 1971, 1987, 1996, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

According to Tariq, thousands of people have lost their lives in these conflicts. “We demand that the government find a permanent solution,” says Tariq.

Former MNA Sajid Hussain Turi tells TNS that the conflict engulfed all of Kurram due to the deaths of two individuals from the Turi tribes on the 24th and 25th.

He says one of the major reasons for the violence in Kurram was injustice. “People have been evacuated by force. There has been injustice. The government has formed a commission to investigate the matter. We demand that the commission continue its work,” says Turi.

Sajid Turi says that several villages inhabited by the Turi tribes from Lower Kurram were forcibly evacuated. In the past, he says, several Sunni-sect villages in Upper Kurram were evacuated similarly.

There are currently eight land disputes in Kurram including a few in Pahwar, Muqbil and Ali Zai.

Former MNA Fakhr Zaman said that people of Kurram need to overcome hatred and engage with one another. “The conflicts in Kurram have only harmed the local people. Kurram will progress once there is peace. We should spread the message of love and unity in this beautiful region and stop those who are trying to spread hatred here,” says Zaman.

Sajid Hussain Turi, too, has called for peace in the region, “People of Kurram need to focus on peaceful resolution of conflicts. We are all residents of Kurram. If we harm anyone here, we harm Kurram.”

It should be noted that large-scale clashes also occurred in the region in July and May, in which many individuals lost their lives.

The writer is a freelance reporter 

Fragile peace