The Express Tribune

Parachinaris condemn Daultana’s behaviour

Published: June 5, 2011
PML-N member allegedly rushed her vehicle at protesters. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/ FILE
The Youth of Parachinar (YoP) on Friday convened an emergency Supreme Council meeting where the abusive behaviour and political statement of PML-N member Tehmina Daultana were discussed.
According to a press release issued by the YoP on Saturday, the reality of the incident is that peaceful protestors from Parachinar blocked Shahrahe Dastoor near radio station during the budget session and no vehicles were allowed to use the route.
Dressed in burial shrouds and carrying coffins, the protestors were condemning the negligence of the government in lifting the siege of the area at the hands of the Taliban and pleading for the reopening of the Thal-Parachinar Road, something that Interior Minister Rehman Malik promised to do in two days, some 40 days back.
According to the press release, “During the protest, the so-called public representative and PML-N member Tehmina Daultana, instead of joining the affected people of Parachinar with words of sympathy, ordered her driver to rush the vehicle over the protestors to break the human obstacle and get…[to]…Parliament House.”
According to the release, the parliamentarian later declared the incident was “an attack on her by the will of the budget presenters (ruling coalition).” The YoP strongly condemned her misbehaviour and misleading statement and demanded that the PML-N explain their anti-Parachinari behaviour.
Earlier, the Islamabad police baton-charged the protestors and used tear gas to disperse them. The Supreme Council of YoP strongly condemned the action against the already besieged people instead of letting them make their problems known. They said that the government must take action to release the 33 kidnapped people and open the road to Parachinar, as the people of Parachinar may decide to ‘snatch their rights’ if not provided.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2011.

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Protest by Kurramites

Posted on June 4, 2011
F.P. Islamabad Office
ISLAMABAD: Despite teargas shelling and baton charge by the ICT Police, hundreds of youth belonging to Kurram Agency Friday managed to reach the Prime Minister Secretariat Chowk and block the crossing for hours by staging protest sit-in for acceptance of their  demands during the Budget session of the National Assembly.  Hundreds of Kurramites assembled outside National Press Club and staged a protest rally to condemn the intentional ignorance by the government in lifting the siege of the area by Taliban and to open Parachinar-Peshawar Road.



Daily Times
Saturday, June 04, 2011

ANALYSIS: Military operation in North Waziristan? —Farhat Taj

The very fact that the operation has been announced prior to its commencement indicates that the generals are not serious in eliminating the Taliban

Conflicting reports are being seen in the media these days regarding a military operation against militants based in North Waziristan, under US pressure. One report even informs that the authorities have quietly asked aid agencies in Pakistan to be prepared for an influx of thousands of IDPs from North Waziristan in the event of an operation. Then the media reported on June 1, 2011 that no decision regarding a military operation in North Waziristan had been taken by the military and the government of Pakistan. 

North Waziristan is a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked militants from all over the world. One Mehsud tribesman described the ethnic diversity of the terrorists in these words: “They (the terrorists) are people with blue, green, brown and black eyes.” From Waziristan they plan attacks all over the world, on anti-Taliban forces inside Pakistan and the security forces of the country. The militants have overpowered the tribes. The Pakistani state has abandoned the area to global terror networks, including the pro-military establishment militant groups, the Haqqani network and the Gul Bahadur Taliban. The area has been a target of most US drone attacks. There has to be a targeted military operation in the area to release the tribes from terror, restore the writ of the state and to eliminate the bases of global terrorism. 

Before the operation, a strategic shift has come in the security paradigm of Pakistan. The strategic depth that seeks to impose a pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan through jihadi adventures has to be given up. There is nothing in the national scene that suggests so. Parliament has surrendered to the generals in the aftermath of bin Laden’s killing in Abbottabad by the US and its joint resolution is no more than, in the words of human rights activist Asma Jahangir, “a toilet paper” that fails to demonstrate control over the security establishment that has landed the country in the jihadi mess. The PPP-led government has no political will to assert itself and, in the words of journalist Jugnu Mohsin, is “laying like a dead body” in front of the generals, who are running the security show like a mafia. The generals’ obsession with strategic depth has not disappeared. The pro-military establishment journalists, who dominate the Pakistani media, are spreading conspiracy theories implicating the US, India and Israel in acts of terrorism in Pakistan. 

A military operation in such a context will be just like the previous operations in FATA — useless, devastating for civilians and the Taliban safely relocated elsewhere. In previous operations in FATA, no leading Taliban commanders were killed or their networks disrupted but thousands of innocent civilians and soldiers of the army and FC were killed, properties worth millions of dollars destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced from the region. The generals seem to accept all this as ‘collateral damage’ in pursuit of state ‘interest’ that only they have a right to define, not the ‘bloody civilians’. 

In 2007, the Waziri tribesmen in South Waziristan clashed with the Uzbek terrorists in the area. Pakistan Army weapons were freely used against the Uzbeks. And yet, instead of killing all the Uzbeks with the help of the Waziri tribe, they were allowed by the military to flee to North Waziristan. In other words, the Uzbek terrorists were pushed into the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network so that their terror energies could be directed towards the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. 

The very fact that the operation has been announced prior to its commencement indicates that the generals are not serious in eliminating the Taliban. Quoting “highly placed sources”, news reports even disclosed the strategy of the military operation, i.e. the Pakistan air force would start the operation through aerial bombardment to ‘soften’ the militant targets, and would then be followed by a ground offensive. Is this a signal to the North Waziristan-based Taliban and al Qaeda to relocate elsewhere before the operation? The previous operations in FATA were announced before their commencement and, consequently, the terrorists relocated to areas outside the ambit of the operations. 

People in FATA wonder why the security forces of Pakistan cannot launch operations unannounced against the Taliban. Why is it so important to announce the operations before they are launched? The Pakistan Army launched sudden and unannounced assaults on Indian positions in Kargil. Even the Indians were taken aback. In the initial phase of the war, the Indians suffered great casualties. Why can similar unannounced and prompt assaults not be carried out against the Taliban in FATA by the security forces of Pakistan? It is thus no wonder that the tribesmen doubt the intentions of the authorities to combat the Taliban. 

Negotiations under the auspices of the ISI were already underway in 2010 with the tribal leaders of Kurram to relocate the Haqqani Taliban to the Kurram Agency. The Haqqani Taliban, part of al Qaeda’s global terror syndicate and close to the Pakistani generals, might have been relocated to Kurram or elsewhere. Leading Haqqani family members live in the big urban centres of Pakistan. They cannot do so without the consent of the military authorities. 

Siraj Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani network, is one of the terrorist leaders wanted by the US and the country has recently asked Pakistan to provide intelligence about his whereabouts to capture or kill him. Will he be handed over to the Americans? Will Hafiz Gul Bahadur, another North Waziristan-based Taliban leader close to the military establishment, be arrested or killed? Only time will tell. Any future military operation will be fake unless all the Taliban are assaulted without ‘good’ or ‘bad’ distinction, including the Haqqani Taliban. 

Pakistan’s jihadi proxies for strategic depth in Afghanistan have become part and parcel of the global terror syndicate led by Arab terrorists. They are part of the terror threat to global peace and are killers of the FATA people as well as other Pakistanis. Pakistan’s allies in the war on terror should reject any military operation in North Waziristan as elsewhere in FATA before the generals give up their idea of strategic depth in Afghanistan via jihadi proxies. In the meanwhile, the US drone attacks must continue on terrorist positions in Waziristan.

The writer is a PhD Research Fellow with the University of Oslo and currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban



Operation in Kurram Agency an option to make peace: Army

KURRAM AGENCY: Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik Thursday warned the militants that the army could soon undertake a military operation against them in the agency.
Addressing to a grand tribal Jirga here at Kurram agency, Asif Yasin reiterated that the government was doing every effort to make peace in the region but a massive military operation was not out of question to purge the agency of terrorists.
He said the army action was an option to bring peace and stability in the tribal region.
Corp Commander assured the Jirga to take every possible action for release of abducted people of the agency.
He appealed the leaders of Jirga to play their role in maintaining peace in their area. Corp commander asked them to help security forces for elimination of terrorists from their region.




Thursday, June 02, 2011

Islamabad: A delegation of International Human Rights Association (HRA), Kurram Agency Chapter led by Ghazanfar Ali Mehdi called on Minister for Health Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Wednesday and discussed matters pertaining to law and order situation in the agency. 

They apprised the minister that there is acute shortage of food and essential medicine in the hospitals of Kurram Agency and demanded of the government to ensure supply of food items and essential medicines. They also demanded deployment of army to ensure peace and security in the area. They demanded opening of road between Peshawar and Parachanar, which is closed for the last four years.

The minister listened to their grievances patiently and assured that their problems would be brought to the notice of prime minister and other authorities concerned.


Four more killed ahead of Kurram ceasefire

PARACHINAR, May 25: The warring tribes of Shia and Sunni sects agreed to ceasefire in violence-ravaged Baleshkhel area of upper Kurram tribal region on Wednesday.
However, four more persons were killed and 18 others received injuries in the area before announcement of ceasefire.
To bring an end to clashes in different areas of the agency, the elders of Turi and Bangash tribes during a meeting with the political authorities and FC officials in Parachinar agreed to take urgent steps for a truce and restoration of lasting peace in the volatile tribal region.
The elders of six tribes of Ahle Sunnat had already declared a unilateral ceasefire in Sadda tehsil a day earlier.
Anjum-i-Farooqia president Fazal Qadir Orakzai, Qari Taj Mohammad and Abdul Karim told journalists that they had directed their men to hold fire even if armed men of rival Turi and Bangash tribes continued targeting them.
The Turi and Bangash tribes made a formal announcement of ceasefire after talks with the government authorities. The leaders of Shia community, Haji Yousaf Turi and MNA Sajid Turi, demanded of the government to take effective measures to end hostility between the warring tribes.
They promised to cooperate with security forces and administration in bringing durable peace to the restive region. “The war is imposed on us as the rival tribes target our men and properties without any provocation,” they said.
They added that Kurram Agency could no more bear lawlessness and appropriate steps should be taken for exemplary peace in the region.
Political Agent Syed Musadiq Shah and FC officials welcomed the ceasefire by Turi and Bangash tribes and hoped the other side would also abide by the decision.
Later, a jirga led by MNA Sajid Turi left for Baleshkhel area to stop clashes by implementing the truce in letter and spirit. The FC personnel also started moving to Baleshkhel to take control of the area and ask warring tribes to vacate bunkers.
Before the ceasefire, four persons were killed and 10 others injured in Baleshkhel area. Eight members of Turi tribe were also injured in the clashes. The number of casualties reached to 26, including two militant commanders. The injuries were reported as 80 so far in the clashes started a few days ago.
Two persons were injured when a mortar shell fired by militants on populated area of Shalozan from hilltops hit a house. The wife of Zenath Bangash and another person sustained injuries in the attack. They were taken to a hospital in Parachinar in critical condition.
The educational institutions remained closed, affecting thousands of studnets in the region. The continued closure of Tall-Parachinar Road has also paralysed life in the restive region. The shortage of essential food items and life saving medicines has further aggravated the situation.



Thursday, May 26, 2011
Four killed in Kurram clashes
By our correspondent
PARACHINAR: Four persons were killed and 18 others sustained injuries in fresh clashes between the Turi, Bangash and other tribes in Balishkhel in Kurram Agency on Wednesday, tribal sources said. The clashes that have assumed sectarian colour continued for the last six days. Four persons were killed and 18 were injured.