LANDIKOTAL: Sultan Khel tribe’s elders lodged protest with Assistant Political Agent (APA) Landikotal against forces operation. Sultan Khel residents and the forces exchanged cross fire which led to the slight injury of a young boy during the raid of the forces in late hours of night. Locals alleged the forces personnel for carrying out search and raid operations in the area by crushing the tribal custom and traditions, which has created trust deficit between the locals and the forces.
The Jirga of Sultan Khel tribe’s elders lodged formal protest with APA Landikotal Iqbal Khattak against the unjustified raid of the forces, saying the forces were trampling down the tribal customs and traditions under their feet, which has infuriated the local tribesmen. We were vigilant against the thieves at night time when the forces entered the jurisdiction of Sultan Khel tribe for search operation against some suspects. They said that the forces personnel threw stones in darkness into some of the houses and put a ladder to climb on a house, which they though as though thieves attacked the houses. This led to the crossfire between the locals and the forces, as it was not clear that forces had surrounded a house.
The Locals said that security forces were bound to take the elders into confidence prior to any search operations and added that they must take on board the Khasadar Force for raids to protect the tribal culture and traditions. The elders also assured full support to the authorities with regard to elimination of criminals, but said they were proud of being peaceful and patriotic people. They demanded of the administration to convey their grievances to the Khyber Rifles’ commandant to avoid unjustified raids on the houses of the local people as it could have very negative impacts on the minds of the people particularly the tribal women and children. The Commandant Khyber Rifles Asad Farooq had also assured the joint grand jirga of Landikotal and Jamrud a few months back that action against the suspects would be taken after taking them into confidence.
The forces personnel after cross firing started announcements on the hand mega phone to inform the people to stop firing, as they were FC personnel. The forces also arrested a suspected person identified as Khandan Khan during the raid. The people were not sure they were forces that are why they opened fire on them. The locals also regretted that political administration and its Khasadar Force officials intentionally ignored to intervene to control the situation despite repeated contacts and requests. APA Landikotal assured the Jirga that he would take up the issue with FC officials to avoid such raid in future that might lead to misunderstanding.