Eventually the man, who resisted the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) for years to enter from FATA and have a base in the outskirts of Peshawar, has been killed by the insurgents. The dead-bodies of Faheem along with his three henchmen were found dumped in the chief’s Land Cruiser Jeep abandoned by the killers on Dalazak Road of Peshawar city. The three confidantes who were killed along with Faheem included Niaz Muhammad, a cousin of Faheem; Altaf, a leader of Matani Aman Laskar and Rahim Baacha, head of the Aman Lashkar in Surizai village. Matani, Surizai, Bazidkhel are a few of the many villages that form a chain on the border of Peshawar with Khyber Agency and FR Kohat regions of FATA.
Faheemur Rahman was the chief of Aman Lashkar (Peace Force) based in Bazid Khel Union Council on the western fringes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital, Peshawar, on the border of the province with FATA
All the above-mentioned men especially Faheem have been instrumental in preventing TTP and LI insurgents from extending their operational bases from FATA into Peshawar as well as endangering the security of Peshawar. Ironically both TTP and LI have claimed responsibility of killing of Faheem and his cohorts. Rather a LI spokesman, Abu Rasheed Lashkari was quoted by media of having said, “Faheem was murdered by our three fighters who have returned safe and secure after accomplishing the mission. Faheem’s murder was the revenge of our eight companions who were brutally killed by him in his village Bazidkhel.” He also claimed to issue the video of the killings. This is indeed a daring claim to make.
The killing of such a high-profile anti-Taliban and anti-insurgent militant chiefs is indeed surprising. They had been missing for the last three days but the police and intelligence agencies could not trace their whereabouts. There should have been efforts at the highest official level to locate the anti-insurgent civilian commanders. It is indeed surprising that the insurgent were able to kill the Peace Force commanders with extraordinary ease and also managed to reach with their dead bodies in downtown Peshawar. It may be mentioned that for reaching the Dalazak Road one has to cross several police pickets. This raises the question that what good these check posts are for. No one imagined Faheem, who escaped three suicide attacks and several bomb attacks and shooting bids from TTP and LI, would be killed so silently. Faheem had also lost many family members in these attacks.
With the killing of these brothers in arms, the security of Peshawar is precariously exposed. The Aman Lashkar may not find a daring person like Faheem again. This would definitely a morale-shattering incident for the followers of Fahim and other Peace Force commanders. Therefore, one can foresee increasing number of attacks and activities of both TTP and LI in the outskirts of Peshawar as well as the city itself. This would also result in the desertions of many volunteers from these various peace bodies in different villages of Peshawar.
Faheem and his cohorts have been quite annoyed with the provincial government for diminishing material support in the shape of arms, ammunition and other security tools. He on a number of occasions even declared to dismantle the Peace Force, headed by him. However, circumstances did not let him take this radical step. Because even in the case he dismantled the volunteer bodies of armed men, he and his family would have to face animosity from the TTP and LI. In fact, it was the ANP which came up with the idea to have local armed lashkars to resist the insurgents and under this policy the provincial and federal governments helped form many such Aman Lashkars in KP and FATA respectively. However, after the killing of Faheem and other peace commanders the future of these lashkars is quite bleak given the fact that already many of the leaders of these lashkars have been mercilessly killed in both KP and FATA.
In the short run these lashkars may have been quite good in controlling militancy which transformed into insurgency against the state as well as protecting the local population from the fallout of militant-insurgent activities. In the long run, however, these kind of bodies have their merits and demerits. As these lashkar so far have been made on the basis of tribes or localities these may lead to diluting of petty intra-tribal disputes and unite people against an alien enemy. This definitely forge unity among the people, who in recent times have been experiencing gradual social collapse, resultantly becoming prone to maladies like militancy. This ultimately would have salubrious effects on the overall environment. However, this may be the case in areas where militants are mostly outsiders. But in areas where there is substantial presence of local population members within the Taliban ranks, the formation of Lashkars may lead to catastrophe. Because of these Taliban or criminal within their ranks, who have no other place, would opt to fight against the local lashkars. On the contrary, as these criminals join Taliban in order to save their skins and keep on their activities using the name of Taliban may also join these volunteer lashkars and at a later stage attempt to sabotage them for their nefarious designs.
In short formation of lashkars is not a long-term solution to the grave problems of militancy and insurgency in the name of Islam in FATA and KP.
(The writer is a political analyst and commentator firstname.lastname@example.org)