Terrorist activities that have engulfed the whole country in general and the tribal belt in particular have inflicted heavy damages on the Pakistani nation since. Beside 40000 human losses with more than 5000 only police and army men, the material losses have gone over 70 billion dollars. These militant activities incurred a huge loss to the economy, infrastructure and socio-political development of the area hence depriving the tribal people from their right to prosper. In a bid to counter the terrorist activities of the militant Taliban, Pakistani army launched a series of military operation that resulted in huge mass displacement. The military operation rather added more to the miseries of the suffering humanity in the war-hit area.
About three years ago, militant activities touched new peaks in Khyber Agency where even the mosques, educational institutes and health-care centers were not spared. About 650 schools for boys and girls remained dysfunctional in the area due to threats from militants, says the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its report “State of Human Rights in 2011”.
To counter militant activities, government constituted peace committees comprising of the local tribal elders and armed youths, however militants targeted them and a large number of them were killed. According to some conservative estimates close to 1500 tribal elders were killed so far by militants. Target killings, incidents of kidnappings for ransom, and infighting between militant outfits for political control remained the main reason behind the heightening tension in the agency. Shelling on civilian population from unknown locations became a routine. Defunct Lashkar e Islam led by Mangal Bagh and TTP Khyber Agency led by Tariq Afridi remained in headlines for their destructive activities in the Agency a. Ansra Ul Islam, another militant group is at gaggers drawn with its arch rival – the lashkar-e-Islam by its bus-conductor turned militant leader, Mangal Bagh.
These clashes among the rival militant groups, the resulting heightening tension and the launch of subsequent military operations by the security forced about 150,000 population to flee the area and settle down either in the camps established for the internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) or with their host families in and around Peshawar. Since March 12, 2012 more than twenty thousand families have left their homes to safer places when military operation “Bya Daraghlam IV” (Here I come again IV) was launched in Khyber Agency. Majority of them are spending their harsh days in Jalozai Camp in the suburbs of Peshawar in the hope of a better tomorrow.
But ironically, despite all these huge losses, no major breakthrough is in sight in the near future. Law and order situation is worsening day in and day out and even the security forces were being attacked with regular intervals. The Bannu Jailbreak has given birth to so many questions. One wonders how come up to 250 militant Taliban can carry out an activity in the settled areas under the nose of police and district administration and secure the release of their imprisoned colleagues without any resistance.
These people are looking back to their homes but the normalcy is yet a dream as no efforts from the Government and security forces have yielded any results. Though, many tribes like Akkakhel and Kukkikhel have reiterated their resolve to use all out efforts to eliminate militants, but these tribes and their peace lashkars are facing too many problems. They are ill-equipped, least trained and not capable to fight against the militants equipped with sophisticated weapons in their hideouts.
To ensure return of normalcy in Khyber Agency, government and security forces must ensure to provide better weapons and ammunition to members of peace lashkars, facilitate the elders of the pro-government and peace-loving tribes and provide them monetary support in order to enable them to flush out the militants once for all.