January 2011


Monday, January 31, 2011

Four injured in Kurram mine blasts

PARACHINAR: Four persons were injured in mine blasts in Pewar and Balishkhel areas in Kurram Agency on Sunday, tribal sources said. The sources said militants had planted explosive device in a field in Pewar area that went off, leaving Javed Hussain injured. In another incident, an explosive device planted on the roadside in Balishkhel area in lower part of Kurram Agency went off, injuring three persons. Two of them were identified as Zahir Hussain and Zulfiqar Ali. 



PARACHINAR: Tribal elders Sunday called for steps to restore viable peace to Kurram Agency, a tribal region that has seen bloody sectarian violence over the last three years.

In a statement, Member of the National Assembly from Kurram Agency Sajid Tori said some quarters were trying to derail the peace process. He urged the government and members of a peace jirga to announce the outcome of a recently held jirga to put an end to years of sectarian strife in the tribal region.

“Whenever an attempt is made to restore peace in Kurram Agency, some quarters become active to impede the process,” he complained. He said the people in Kurram Agency wanted peace for which they had sided with the government.

Introduce reforms in Fata, govt urged: Tribal NGOs Consortium and Frontier Regions Civil Society Network (FCSN) have welcomed the merger of Kala Dhaka (Torghar) into the settled areas of Khyber Pakh-tunkhwa. In a statement, Chairman Tribal NGOs Consortium and Coordinator FCSN Zar Ali Khan Afridi said President Asif Ali Zardari announced reforms for Federally Administered Tribal Areas one and half years back on the Independence Day on August 14, 2009 but these were yet to be implemented. He said the people of Fata had been suffering for the last almost 63 years but since 2003 they were living in a hell. “Their political and social life has been destroyed while the business activities are at a standstill due to militancy,” he added.

The TNC and FCSN asked the government to announce reforms for Fata including extension of Political Parties Act, representation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, abolition of collective responsibility clause in the FCR and giving Fata the status of Pata.


Fighting erupts in Kurram after truce


It was reported on Friday that the main Thall-Parachinar Road, which has remained closed for about four years, would be reopened in 24 hours under an accord between the warring groups. – Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Militants attacked a village in Kurram on Sunday two days after a grand jirga headed by lawmakers had announced a truce between Turi Bangash tribes and Taliban.

It was reported on Friday that the main Thall-Parachinar Road, which has remained closed for about four years, would be reopened in 24 hours under an accord between the warring groups.

On Saturday morning, the FC commandant announced that a passenger convoy escorted by FC personnel would leave from Parachinar for Thall. But Taliban and their local supporters blocked the road when the convoy reached the Bagan village in Lower Kurram. They said that they did not accept any deal for reopening the road.

On Sunday afternoon, a Taliban Lashker from Khar Kaly Sadda attacked the neighbouring Turi Bangash village of Blashkhel, but faced tough resistance.

According to sources, clashes were continuing and spreading to other villages.

They said that Taliban militants fleeing from Waziristan and Orakzai and their local supporters had launched the attack from their stronghold in Sadda and adjoining Khar Kaly in a bid to browbeat Turi Bangash tribes in Blashkhel.

According reports from the area, six Turi Bangash tribesmen and two Taliban attackers were injured in the clashes.

Some reports said that more than 20 Taliban had been killed and several others injured. While retreating, the militants had taken away the bodies and their injured associates.

source: http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/31/fighting-erupts-in-kurram-after-truce.html


The Express Tribune

Kurram Agency: After years of fighting, jirga brokers truce

Published: January 30, 2011

Formal announcement of peace agreement to be made in the next 24 hours.

ISLAMABAD: grand tribal jirga in Parachinar has negotiated a truce between warring tribes after three years of fighting left over 2,000 dead and at least 3,500 injured in the Kurram tribal region.

Apart from this, over 3,000 families have left the region to seek shelter in other parts of Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa since 2007.

Sajid Toori and Munir Orakzai, two lawmakers from Kurram Agency, told The Express Tribune that a formal announcement of the truce will be made on Monday at a news conference.

The agreement was reached after two years of negotiations by the Jirga comprising 225 elders from the entire tribal belt.

Malik Waris Khan, a former federal minister and leader of the PPP from Khyber Agency, headed the jirga and Haji Munir Orakzai, Sajid Toori, Haji Faiz Muhammad Malik, Jamal Hussain Orakzai, Malik Shah Hussain, Noor Jafar Orakzai and Malik Bismillah Orakzai are said to have played a pivotal role in negotiating the truce.

The jirga decided that the main Thal-Peshawar Road which leads to Parachinar will be opened immediately. The road has remained closed for the last three years due to fighting between Shia and Sunni tribesmen.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters from Fata and Afghanistan had come to the aid of the Sunni population in Parachinar against Shia tribesmen.

The Taliban have made the accusation that a neighbouring country has been providing arms and money to the Shia Toori tribes. It was also alleged that Baitullah Mehsud and Mullah Omar had sent their fighters to side with the Sunni tribes.

Sajid Toori claimed that 1,400 Shia tribesmen have been killed in fighting during the past four years.

Lower and Central Kurram, Chahar Dewar, Bin Yameen, Jalanai and Tri Mengal and Sadda have been the scenes of some of the bloodiest clashes between the two sides.

Munir Orakzai said that the political agent of the agency has assured the jirga that the government would compensate the affected people.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th,  2011.

source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/111277/kurram-agency-after-years-of-fighting-jirga-brokers-truce/







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Tribesmen demand opening of Thal-Parachinar Road

PARACHINAR: The problems of tribal people have increased manifold due to lack of edibles items, medicines and petroleum products due to the long-term closure of the Thal-Parachinar Road in Kurram Agency. The tribal people have demanded immediate opening of this road to avert any humanitarian crisis in the area. The tribal elders Azmat Hussain Bangesh, Ali Khan Orakzia and Gul Khan Tori, during a peace Jirga held in Parachinar, have urged the government to take measures for the opening and safety of the Thal-Parachinar Road to check the suffering of tribal people. They stressed for restarting the convoy service to address scarcity of food, medicines and other things to Parachinar.





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Parachinar-bound passengers’ convoy returns to Peshawar

PARACHINAR: A Parachinar-bound convoy of over 700 passengers has been sent back to Peshawar after waiting for many days in Thall. 
According to tribal MNA Sajid Hussain, a convoy of 30 vehicle having 700 passengers including women, children, aged persons and patients had left Peshawar for Parachinar. 
He said that the security forces stopped the convoy at Thall. He said that the convoy waited for about 35 hours in Thall. However, the security forces did not provide security to the convoy and all the vehicles were sent back to Peshawar.
The security forces say that the convoy was sent back to Peshawar due to fear of militant’s attack on the convoy. 
MNA Sajid Turi has demanded of the government to eliminate the camps of the terrorists in Kurram Agency and opened the Thall-Parachinar for transport.
Meanwhile, three tribesmen from Bangash tribe were shot dead by armed men at Thowda Cheena area of the Kurram Agency. The local political administration has ordered inquiry into the incident. 

source: http://www.khybernews.tv/news_details.php?newsid=5387






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Saturday, January 22, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (Safron) has strongly advocated levying of toll tax at the Torkham checkpost on Nato trucks, asking the relevant ministries to come up with a proposal in this context within 15 days.

Talking to The News here on Friday, the NA panel chairman Sajid Hussain Turi said the committee in its Thursday’s meeting, had directed the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Law and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to furnish a report on the matter.

He maintained that not a penny was being paid to the Fata from the massive amounts being collected near Peshawar by the authorities, whereas Nato trucks and oil tankers were destroying roads in the tribal region.

“We need money for repair of roads, but no one is prepared to provide it. Therefore, we have decided to ponder over this possibility and sought the relevant ministries’ output on this count,” Turi said.

To a question, he said the representatives of the Fata Secretariat had declined to share details of the toll tax being collected at Hayatabad with the National Assembly’s standing committee. Therefore, they had summoned the secretaries Finance, Commerce and the Foreign Office to explain the matter to them.

He contended that Fata should either be paid from the toll tax being collected at Hayatabad or toll tax be levied on Nato trucks and tankers crossing the Jamrud checkpost. He charged that at Kharlaachi checkpost, the Frontier Corps was charging from Rs 22,000 to Rs35,000 from each truck or tanker heading for Kurram Agency on their way to Afghanistan. He claimed even the local trucks, carrying food supplies and medicines for the under siege population of Kurram Agency, were being heavily charged.

He said the panel expressed concern over the lack of security on the only road leading to the Kurram Agency from Tall side and decided to summon the law-enforcement officers in the next meeting to seek an explanation why convoys of tucks, carrying vital items for the people of Kurram, were intercepted and set on fire every now and then.

“We are unfortunately faced with a Gaza-like situation for the last three years but this has not shaken those who matter and can rectify the crisis-like scenario, as hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, including children, elderly and women face an acute shortage of food and medicines,” said the panel chairman.

He pointed out on January 4 this year, as many as 96 trucks headed for Kurram Agency, 23 of these meant for Taliban-infested Parachinar and adjoining areas of the agency were set ablaze along with medicines and food items while the rest were allowed to cross the Pak-Afghan border.

The legislator from Kurram Agency alleged that certain senior officers of the law-enforcement agencies with the connivance of Taliban were obstructing movement of truckloads of desperately-needed food items and medicines for Kurram Agency. “We are summoning the responsible officers in our next meeting to be held within a fortnight to ascertain why they are failing to discharge their duty,” he asserted.

The legislator from Kurram Agency pointed out that a convoy of coaches, carrying a number of passengers and food supplies and medicines, was stopped by the Taliban at Tall-Parachinar Road and it had to return to Peshawar on Friday after 35 hours’ ordeal.







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