A well-known local religious scholar Maulana Hashim was brutally shot dead after he had been kidnapped on Monday from Tabai area of Bazaar Zakha Khel in Landikotal sub-division of Khyber Agency. The local people had blocked the road for traffic leading to Tirah Valley. So far no group of militants has claimed responsibility for his murder. Local people say Maulana Hashim was a pious person therefore no one accepts responsibility for his murder. He was also reported for playing a busy role to build a network of religious seminaries in Bazaar Zakha Khel area.
In another incident at Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency, a young man was killed after his abduction from Alam Godhra area. The same day an FC convoy was hit with a remote-control bomb which left six security personnel injured. Some locals also say that it was a suicide attack, but the authorities did not confirm it.
On Tuesday night unknown miscreants tried to blow up a power pylon and a dysfunctional telephone exchange at Ali Masjid area of Jamrud. The pylon and the telephone exchange were caused partial damages. Similarly, the father of a levy hawaldar identified as Noor Syed was kidnapped from a mosque in Niki Khel area of Landikotal. He was kidnapped on gunpoint when he was coming out from the mosque in Kas area in Niki Khel tribe. Another person was deprived of his waistcoat that had a mobile set and one thousand rupees. It is also interesting to note that gangs of thieves are operating on daily basis in Landikotal. Thieves and robbers in groups raid houses and rob the cash amounts and jewelries which has caused terror in local people because they do not fire at the thieves due to the fear that security forces would raid their houses and may harm them further in the uncertain situation.
Khyber Agency is passing through a very critical stage of its history as the law and order situation has been going from bad to worst. Thousands of people have migrated from Bara and other areas of Bazaar Zakha Khel, Karmna and Barg due to upsurge in militancy. People are not satisfied with the current military operations in Khyber Agency.
The government schools that have been blown up have exceeded the digit of 40 in the entire Agency. Majority of the schools in Bara and Bazaar Zakha Khel areas are closed where teachers can’t turn up for their duties either due to military offensive or the fear of armed militants. Destruction of schools has adverse impacts on the new generations in tribal regions. The basic element is education that can create awareness in masses for peace.
The question raises in our people’s minds is that who will come to improve the law and order situation. How long this tension would remain intact in the tribal areas? The government and the security forces are legally and constitutionally bound to pay serious attention to resolve the problems by controlling the insurgency in FATA.
The persistent unrest in the tribal regions has disturbed the social fabric of the local society. The tribal Members of National Assembly (MNAs) and senators been gagged to speak out for the return of peace and development in FATA but they are unable to turn up to their constituencies to meet their voters and to know about their basic problems. The tribal MNAs are morally supposed to press the government and the forces to restore peace to the tribal belt. A simple solution of this problem is that our government and army should part ways with the US led coalition in the so-called war on terror, which is in fact a war against the people of Pakistan itself.
Sudhir Khan Afridi works as Field Researcher at FRC.