The Express Tribune

Tribal violence: 8 dead in Kurram Agency clashes

Published: May 23, 2011
Fighting caused by dispute over installation of electricity pylons but conflagrated into sectarian violence.

At least eight people were killed and 12 others were injured in clashes between two tribes in Kurram Agency late on Saturday, local sources said.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the clashes occurred in parts of Sadda sub-district in Lower Kurram Agency. Both parties, they said, were heavily armed.
“Fighting is going on between residents of Pewar Killay and Teri Mangal areas and on late Saturday, at least eight people were killed and 12 others injured. Warring tribes attacked each other’s positions but it is not clear which tribe has suffered how many casualties,” sources said.
According to sources, the fighting started following a dispute over installation of electricity pylons in the area and soon conflagrated into sectarian fighting.
Sources said that the fighting stopped later on Sunday but there were no reports of a ceasefire between the warring parties.
Kurram’s population of 500,000 has a Shia majority, according to official statistics. Since 2007, things have been particularly grim, notes UN’s information arm IRIN. That year, the main road linking Parachinar on the Pakistan-Afghan border to Peshawar was closed due to militant activity, resulting in acute shortages of essential items in Parachinar, according to observers such as the autonomous Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
A peace deal was reached between warring Shia and Sunni tribes in Kurram Agency in February 2011. The deal was brokered by security forces and guaranteed by members of the Haqqani network – a branch of the Afghan Taliban, allegedly based in Pakistan. But barely a month later, a convoy was ambushed by gunmen who killed eight people and kidnapped 15 others. All those attacked were Shia.
Sunni tribes have also come under attack, but loss of life has not been reported. In April 2011, unidentified gunmen kidnapped at least 10 schoolchildren from the Bagan area of the Lower Kurram Agency. The kidnapped children were said to be from Sunni families.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2011.