Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jirga members arrested on failure of talks

This practice is unusual in this part of the country but otherwise it is common in tribal areas where political authorities detain members of the rival parties after failure of talks over any issue.
Those arrested included 23 members each of Sunni and Shia sects of Hangu who had gathered in the provincial capital since May 9 to secure an agreement for peace in their district as well as the Kurrum Agency. Three other leaders were detained later.
It was learnt that the Peshawar police only shifted the 49 elders from a sprawling residence in the University Town to the Peshawar Central Jail. The Regional Coordination Officer of Kohat as well as the political agent of the Kurrum Agency had issued warrants for arrest of these Jirga members. The two parties had held several sessions of talks in Peshawar during the past 11 days but could not reach a consensus. Hangu District Nazim Haji Khan Afzal, who was also the head of the Hangu Amn Jirga, as well as RCO Kohat Mohammad Umar Afridi also attended most of the sessions of the Jirga.
"We had been making efforts for the past six months and had asked both the conflicting sides to submit their demands and reservations in black and white so that we could reach an agreement for a durable peace in Hangu and Kurrum. However, the two parties did not act responsibly," the head of the Jirga, Khan Afzal, told media persons here on Tuesday.
Kohat RCO and other elders, including Shah Hussain, Izzat Gul, Alauddin, Haji Fazal Akbar, Badshah Jan, Shah Sarwar, Shah Qaisar and others flanked him. The chief of the Hangu Amn Jirga made it clear that not the Jirga but the conflicting parties had failed in restoring peace to the Kurrum Agency and Hangu. The two parties had deposited Rs 20 million each in cash and Rs 40 million each as personal sureties with the Jirga.
"As the two parties were not acting responsibly, we have sent members from both sides to jail with the cooperation of the administration. They will remain behind the bars until they reach an agreement," remarked Khan Afzal.
Highlighting the achievements of the body, the Jirga head said it was because of their efforts that the children of both the sects appeared in examinations. He added that they were making serious efforts for peace in Kurrum as well as Hangu on a permanent basis.
Online adds: Sources of the peace Jirga disclosed that the government was interested that both parties sign a pre-planned peace agreement and upon their refusal it detained them. Sources from both the sides confirmed that the government had given them a draft but they vowed to draft the peace treaty after mutual negotiations and consultations.

Wednesday May 21, 2008

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