Kurram Agency


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 Friday, April 22, 2011


Abducted tribesmen found dead in Kurram

By our correspondent

SADDA/PARACHINAR: Suspected militants Thursday shot dead eight tribesmen out of the 45 they had kidnapped from Baggan area in lower Kurram Agency on March 25, tribal sources said. The sources as well as family members of the slain tribesmen said bodies of all the eight slain men were recovered from Shaheedano Dand in Lower Kurram. 

 

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Pakistan militants kill 8 of minority Shia community
Published: Friday, Apr 22, 2011, 14:51 IST 
Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: PTI

At least 8 of over 30 members of minority Shia community, taken hostage by militants in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt, have been killed and their bodies burnt by their abductors, media reports today said.
Pro-Taliban militants had abducted over 30 people during attacks on two convoys of vehicles carrying Shias in the Kurram tribal region on March 25.
There has been confusion about the exact number of people kidnapped, with some reports stating that 45 Shias were taken hostage.
Militants burnt the bodies of eight persons after ruthlessly slaughtering them, The Frontier Post newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
The mutilated bodies were handed over to members of the Shia Turi-Bangash tribe in Kurram Agency yesterday.
Another report, from the tribal region, said the militants beheaded the eight persons.
The attack last month occurred despite a peace deal signed by rival Shia and Sunni tribesmen earlier this year.
It was widely reported that the Haqqani militant network based in North Waziristan tribal region was involved in brokering the deal.
Following the attack, the strategic Tall-Parachinar road, which connects Kurram Agency to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar, was closed.
The local political administration, security forces and a grand tribal jirga could not succeed in recovering the kidnapped Shias despite several attempts to negotiate with the abductors. The militants freed five women and seven children.
Tension has gripped the region after the attack. Local residents have expressed their disappointment and criticised the political administration and law enforcement agencies for their failure to rescue the kidnapped people even after a lapse of nearly a month. 

 

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Mumtaz Alvi
Friday, April 22, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Scores of students hailing from Parachinar on Thursday made an impassioned appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to intervene into the militancy-triggered humanitarian crisis in Kurram Agency.

Desperation written large on their faces, the youths, who had come from Peshawar to join other natives of the tribal agency, in the protest in front of the Parliament House, wondered why the government and the security forces had so far not been able to take on the militants.

In the given circumstances with their family members under siege for so long, they complained, it was very hard for them to concentrate on their studies, as they were supposed to. “Everybody in the agency continues to feel increasingly insecure for the last four years because of diabolical activities of the anti-state elements,” lamented some of the students during a chat with The News.

These youths, studying in academic institutions of Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar, are desperate to reunite with their family members in Parachinar and elsewhere in Kurram Agency. Well over 0.5 million people in the agency face day-to-day problems, from a free movement to provision of medicines, vegetables and edibles. “We have gathered here to make our leaders sitting in the Presidency, Prime Minister House and the GHQ to realise the gravity of the situation we have been in since long,” they contended.

Hasan Fakhri (doing BSc honours from Peshawar Agriculture University), who is the convenor of the Youth of Parachinar, under which these students gathered in the federal capital, said they had no doubt in their mind that if the government had the will, it could restore peace in the agency within days. He said they were not asking for the moon: they were raising their voice for a decisive action against the enemies of humanity. “It is the state’s fundamental responsibility to protect life and property of its citizens and the same we are pleading for here,” he argued.

Zulqarnain, Muhammad Adil, Noor Nabi and Kamran Bangash and a few others, who spoke to this correspondent, brushed aside the impression that what was happening in the agency was partly the result of any Sunni-Shia rift there.

They pointed out the Youth of Parachinar consisted of both Sunni and Shia students and they had one common wish to see restoration of peace in Kurram Agency. Asked why in their opinion, the government had failed so far to drive out the militants and restore pace or at least make it the vital road link between the agency and the rest of Pakistan i.e. the Parachinar-Tall Road safe for movement, they apprehended, this could be against their interests to do so. It was learnt the only possibility now to reach the agency was by air but the one-side fare was Rs8,000-22,000, which the rich could afford and not the common residents of Kurram Agency. 

 

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Bodies of 8 passengers handed over to Turi elders

Dawn Report | From the Newspaper  Today
PARACHINAR, April 21: The bodies of eight kidnapped passengers, found in Shahidano Dhand area of lower Kurram, were handed over by the political authorities to elders of Turi tribe on Thursday.
Militants had attacked a convoy in Beggan area of Kurram Agency on March 25. Three people were killed and two other injured in the attack. The attackers also kidnapped 35 passengers.
A tribal jirga that met in Islamabad on Tuesday were told about the killing of some of the captives. The jirga was convened to discuss ways and means for the release of kidnapped persons and salvage peace agreement in the restive area.
MNA Sajid Turi said that political administration handed over bodies of eight kidnapped passengers to them. They were identified as Irfan Hussain, Ghulam Ali, Laiq Hussain, Irshad Hussain, Nasir Hussain, Khalid Anwar, Nowroz Hussain while name of the eighth passenger could not be ascertained, he said.
Mr Turi said that all the bodies were headless and identified by the documents with them. He said that militants and their local supporters in Beggan were responsible for the incident. He demanded of the government to start action against them.
Meanwhile, military helicopters bombed Lashkar-i-Islam hideouts in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Thursday, official sources said.
They said that the action was necessitated after intelligence information about the presence of large number of LI activists in Khar Ghat and surrounding areas of Bazaar-Zakhakhel. Number of casualties could not be immediately known.
Meanwhile, officials of political administration claimed to have established offices for the first time in Jarhobi area of Bazaar-Zkhakhel after a tribal lashkar expelled activists of LI from there. They said that security checkposts were also set up at Ziyarhai top and Mangal Bagh Kandao.
Officials claimed to have completely cleared the area of LI activists and were now concentrating on initiating development schemes for the collective benefits of area residents.
On the other hand unidentified persons blew up a government primary school for boys in Mandathu Kuthee area of Ghundi in Jamrud tehsil on Wednesday night. Officials said the explosion completely damaged the school building.
In Jamrud, militants targeted two oil tankers and a vehicle of Khasadar Force on Thursday morning in two separate incidents.
The first incident took place near TD bazaar where a time device planted at a roadside went off when an oil tanker and a vehicle of khasadars were passing through the area. The explosion caused minor damage to an abandoned checkpost in the area while the vehicles remained undamaged.
In the other incident at Sur Kamar area in Jamrud, masked armed men fired at an oil tanker taking fuel to Nato forces in Afghanistan. The firing could not cause any damage to the tanker.
The Khasadar force also detonated on Thursday a time device planted along the road near Sakhi Pul area in Jamrud.
In Dera Ismail Khan, two policemen were killed when armed motorcyclists opened firing on them on Multan Road in the limits of Cantt police station on Thursday.
Sources said that two personnel of police Eagle Squad signalled two suspected motorcyclists in Zamirabad locality to stop. The bikers opened indiscriminate firing on them, killing both policemen identified as Asif and Naimat on the spot.
The assailants managed to escape after the incident. They also took the guns of the policemen. The bodies of the killed policemen were taken to district headquarters hospital for postmortem and later handed over to their relatives.

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Our correspondent
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 
 
PARACHINAR: Fata chapters of Awami National Party (ANP) and Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) have asked the government to restore the mobilephone network in Kurram Agency immediately.

In a joint statement on Monday, tribal leader of MQM Muhammad Turi and ANP President Daulat Ali Khan said the mobile phone service had been suspended since last year due to which people were facing problems.

They said that the people working with the mobile companies had also been rendered jobless. They said that landline phone service was the only source of communication in the area but it remained out of order most of the time. Lauding the restoration of the mobile phone network in Dera Ismail Khan after two years, they demanded of the government to restore it in Kurram Agency also.

 

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Elders meet today to salvage Kurram peace deal

Bureau Report | From the Newspaper
 
PESHAWAR: The interlocutors and guarantors of Kurram peace deal will meet in Islamabad on Tuesday to chalk out a strategy for recovery of 35 passengers, who were kidnapped from Thall-Parachinar Road last month.
They will discuss ways to salvage the peace agreement that collapsed only after month it was put into effect. “The stakeholders will sit together to find out solution to lingering issue of Kurram,” Malik Waris Khan Afridi, former federal minister and head of the jirga that brokered peace agreement, told Dawn on Monday.
Well informed sources said that some outsiders, who were guarantors of the peace deal, were expected to attend the crucial talks to be held at an undisclosed place in the federal capital.
Mr Afridi also confirmed participation of main guarantors in the negotiations. The elders of rival tribes would also take part in the talks. He said that recovery of the 35 kidnapped people and compensation package worth Rs1 billion for the affected families of Kurram were on the agenda of the jirga.
The jirga will discuss breach of peace deal and kidnapping on Thal-Parachinaar Road, which was reopened in February this year after a four-year closure. Militants had attacked three vehicles heading from Peshawar to Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram, in Baggun on March 26.
Three people were killed and two others got injuries while 35 passengers were kidnapped in the incident. The whereabouts of kidnapped people is still unknown and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
According to sources a local militant group is believed to have hand in the kidnapping as it wants to force government for accepting its demands, including release of its members. However, Mr Afridi said that he didn`t know about the kidnappers and their motives.
Sajid Hussain Turi, a parliamentarian from Kurram, said that recovery of the kidnapped persons was on the top of jirga`s agenda. He said that elders and parliamentarians had worked hard to implement the agreement, signed in October 2008 for restoration of peace in the area, in letter and spirit but a series of attacks on vehicles plying on Thall-Parachinar Road had jeopardised the accord.
He said that 12 persons were killed in an attack on a passenger coach near Mamo Khwar. “The government is guarantor of the peace deal but it has failed to ensure safety of people of Kurram. Security forces have not supported efforts of the elders,” he said.

 

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Kidnapped passengers: Kurram jirga to take up issue with governor
 
ISLAMABAD, April 19: Lawmakers and elders of Kurram Agency unanimously decided here on Tuesday to take up the issue of 35 passengers kidnapped from Thall-Parachinar Road with the KP governor besides pressing the security forces for ensuring safety on the route.
MNA from Kurram Agency Sajid Hussain Turi told Dawn that this was for the first time that the two major tribes in the volatile Kurram Agency — Turi and Mengal — had passed on the buck to the government regarding safety of their tribesmen on Thall-Parachinar Road and many other issues as in the past, the two tribes were holding each other responsible for any untoward incident in the tribal area.
“The Thall-Parachinar Road was re-opened with the mutual efforts of tribal elders. Now the government and security forces were wholly responsible for safeguarding the road,” the MNA said.
About Tuesday`s jirga, the lawmaker said that about 30 tribal elders including MNA Munir Orakzai collectively decided to involve the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for peace in Kurram Agency.
Mr Turi regretted that the government had completely ignored the safety of passengers traveling on the route adding that the recovery of the 35 missing commuters was the duty of law enforcement agencies.
He said that both Mengal and Turi tribes would support military operation against the militant group fuelling sectarian clashes in the tribal agency. “If the government keeps mum over the suffering of the people, then we have other options to force the government to take practical step for the peace in Parachinar,” he said.
Mansab Ali, a tribal elder, told Dawn that a third force which had no affiliation with any of the two tribes was destroying peace in the tribal agency, adding that both the federal and provincial governments had completely ignored their responsibility to maintain law and order in the area.
Munir Orakzai said that KP Governor Barrister Masud Kausar would be requested to take up the issue of kidnapped passengers with the security forces.
 

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