Peace committee member shot dead in Peshawar 

Peshawar – An elderly man from the tribal area of Parachinar was killed last night in Peshawar, Pakistan, apparently for the reason that he was trying to bring about peace between at-war religious sects.

A retired government official named Iqbal Hussain was shot dead last night (Sunday, January 30, 2011) by unidentified armed men in the posh area of Hayatabad in Peshawar city, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Hussain, around 75, was killed outside his house located at a short distance from the private hospital Rehman Medical Institute (RMI) of Hayatabad.

According to Muhammad Zahid, an acquaintance of Iqbal Hussain, the elderly retired official was from Parachinar (Kurram Agency) that borders on the Pakistan-Afghanistan political boundary, and was an active member of the local peace committee trying to resolve the disputes between Shia and Sunni sects in Parachinar. Hussain is said to have been called out to the door of his house by ringing the door bell. Just as he came out, he was shot by the men who then fled in a car.

According to Zahid, Hussain was Sunni by belief but he had good relations with the Shia community and was trying to put an end to the ongoing Shi-Sunni conflict in Parachinar. This was the most likely reason that he was targeted by people who don’t want peace in Parachinar, Zahid remarked.

“He wanted to settle peace between Shia and Sunni sects,” said Zahid, “and that might be the reason he was killed since he was a very peaceful person.”

Zahid also expressed great concern over the continued hunting of each other’s sect members among both Shia and Sunni people belonging to Parachinar but now residing in Peshawar.

“They stalk each other for killing because they fought back in their hometown and now their enmity has moved into the city with them,” said Zahid.

Earlier in the day, Pro-Taliban militants blocked the main passage leading from Parachinar to Thall (Hangu) and deterred a convoy of people from leaving Parachinar, according to Press TV. The main road has been closed for about four years now. However, the security forces have not yet succeeded in ensuring safety of travel between the two areas by people, particularly by the Shia sect members belonging to Parachinar/Kurram Agency.

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