Saturday, November 29, 2008


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Editorial: Spectre of sectarian war

Daily Times

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spectre of sectarian war

The eight persons who were wounded in a bomb-attack inside a Peshawar imambargah on Monday testify to the sectarian philosophy of certain elements in the “Taliban” movement and Al Qaeda. The bombers penetrated one of the oldest quarters of the city, Hasht Nagri, and blew up the building. This is not the first time the Shia have been targeted in Peshawar, but so far lame excuses have been invented by certain elements in the media and in the political parties to avoid naming those who are responsible. In the NWFP, other cities have been more ferociously punished. Dera Ismail Khan has seen repeated massacres of the Shia community, and the scourge has swept across the nearby Bhakkar in Punjab too.

The Tribal Areas have not been spared either. Kurram Agency has been a seat of sectarian rivalry since Pakistan began indulging in jihad. The Sunni-Shia violence was revived there by the militias that fought the state’s proxy war. The sectarian war that was relocated from the Gulf to Pakistan after 1979, simmered in Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram, and has become full-blown in 2008. The communities there are stranded. No supplies are allowed to pass to them, some essentials reaching there mostly through Afghanistan. Hundreds of people have died there and the Pakistani state, despite pledges, has not stirred to defend its citizens against violence.

Now sectarian mayhem is always round the corner in Pakistan. But it is the NWFP which is today the most endangered province because of the loss of the Tribal Areas to the Taliban and the “foreigners” of Al Qaeda. The road that goes from Peshawar to Kurram is studded with training camps of anti-Shia elements. Kohat, an important air force base and a cantonment, is the most endangered, along with Hangu where there are small Shia communities. These elements have a free run there, picking up funds through coercion and abducting people they don’t like. Along Darra Adam Khel, some anti-Shia militias have gravitated to their old patrons in the Punjab.

During the civil war in Afghanistan, the militias produced by Pakistan shifted their loyalties. They killed Shias in Pakistan, then absconded into Afghanistan. The Taliban government, recognised by Pakistan when the world abominated it, refused two requests from Pakistan: it refused to recognise the Durand Line and it refused to surrender the sectarian killers in their protection. Thus Pakistan could never properly deal with the rise of sectarian violence; and Iran, greatly disturbed by the killings, never really believed that the Pakistani state was uninvolved. Nor will it now, no matter how we try to dissuade them. The fact is that we are not greatly moved by the killings.

The Serbs in the Balkans used the state to expel its rubbish periodically through ethnic-cleansing. All states to some extent do this, but the danger in Pakistan is that this is a trend that might finally undo Pakistan. The minorities are already quaking in their shoes, but there are others like Ismailis, Zikris and Bahais who are potential victims of this “ethnic-cleansing”. Unfortunately, there is a modicum of public acceptance of this function of the state on the basis of the Second Amendment of 1974 which apostatised the Ahmedi community. Take the example of the politicisation of the threat of Talibanisation in Karachi. The MQM says the Taliban are moving their terrorist hierarchies into Karachi where Shias and Barelvis have been targeted in the past. The Sindh government thinks the MQM exaggerates the threat even though the Taliban in South Waziristan have publicly declared their intent to take over the city. The ANP is caught in the middle. It is threatened by the Taliban in Peshawar but its vote bank in Karachi — where there are more Pakhtuns than in Peshawar, Kabul or Kandahar — prevents it from closing ranks with the MQM and facing up to the challenge with the help of the Sindh government. Apart from ethnic-cleansing these elements will bring to Karachi their agenda of finishing off the sects they don’t like.

The Sindh government is reluctant even after a word of advice from President Zardari. The federal Interior Ministry, after receiving information from intelligence agencies, has informed Sindh that terrorists have planned to carry out suicide attacks on a number of prominent locations. This means that the coming war is not America’s war. We should stop thinking of “taking action” against America and concentrate more on what is coming at us from the inside. The Shia community, instead of listening to the anti-American propaganda emanating from Iran, should learn to protect itself against the sectarian mayhem that has made its latest appearance in Peshawar. The state is too weak to come to their help. *


Sunday, November 23, 2008

PCB asked to form Cricket Associations in FATA

Sunday, 23 November 2008

PESHAWAR, Nov 22 (APP): The Office‑Bearers of the FATA Adhoc Body Saturday urged Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ijaz Butt to form cricket associations in tribal agencies as the tribal belt was rich in cricket potential.

Addressing a press conference Haji Taimur Afridi said that time has come to tap the hidden sporting potential of tribal youth and formation of the regular cricket associations in the tribal regions would help in exploring the cricket potential besides contributing towards promotion of the game.

He disclosed that the PCB had started registration process for club registration in Fata in February 2008 but no progress to this effect has been made till date.

Flanked by Presidents and Secretaries of the Adhoc Body from Khyber, Bajaur, Kurram, Orakzai and Mohmand Agencies, FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Bannu, Haji Taimur Afridi said that (33) clubs from Khyber Agency, 10 clubs from Khurram Agency, FR Kohat (6), Mohmand (6), North Waziristan Agency (6), Bajaur Agency (17), FR Dera Ismail Khan (1), FR Peshawar (1), FR Lakki (1), Orakzai Agency (1), FR Bannu (1) have been registered with the Regional General Manager PCB Anwar Zeb Jan in Peshawar.

The tribal areas are full of cricket talent but no step has been taken for promoting and facilitating the players to exhibit their skill.

He said that the coordinator appointed by PCB in 2003 for looking after the affairs of cricket’s promotion in FATA has failed in the fulfillment of his primary task.

Haji Taimur Afridi questioned the PCB’s efforts for the promotion of cricket and said the real talent in FATA has still not yet been explored. While giving example of the district he said that Lakki Marwat, a district similar to Tehsil Bara (Khyber Agency) was given separate status but an area half of the province was ignored of similar facilities.

The PCB on one hand giving separate status to a small district Lakki but on the other denied the same to people of FATA.

He hailed the appointment of Javed Miandad as Director General PCB and expressed the confidence that the new DG would no ignore Fata in sporting activities “We want to have an elected and honest body that could work with the support of PCB for the promotion of cricket in FATA,” Haji Taimur said.

He also appreciated Political Administration, FATA Directorate for taking steps in providing sports facilities to the youth in FATA. Taimur Afridi while criticizing the recently held trials under PCB Talent Hunt scheme said that it was a futile effort because many youngsters were not aware of such trials due to least interest shown by coordinator FATA.

“We were not informed about the trials and the players of the existing clubs were kept in the dark,” he added.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Law, order improving in Kurram Agency: Arshad

Friday, November 21, 2008,
Zi'qad 22, 1429 A.H.

PESHAWAR (APP): The law and order situation is drastically improving in Kurram Agency in wake of the landmark peace deal inked by two rival factions of the agency in Islamabad, a senior official said on Thursday. Arshad Majeed, the political agent of Kurram Agency told reporters that normalcy was returning fast to Kurram due to the hectic efforts of Jirga members and government. The administrator said that complete ceasefire was being observed in restive areas due to implementation of peace agreement. He lauded the cooperation of jirga members in restoration of durable peace in the agency. To a question, he said that business activities are in full swing in Kurram and traffic is plying on roads. Majeed reiterated that no body would be allowed to take law into their hands and disturbed the peace of the agency. He said that government’s writ would be established at all costs. The political agent said that Kurram Agency would be made a cradle of peace. He sought the active cooperation of tribesmen in maintaining law and order in the agency.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Commenting on security situation in Parachinar

Thursday, November 20, 2008,
Zi'qad 21, 1429 A.H

PESHAWAR: Political Agent, Arshad Majid Mohmand has said that law and order situation is improving in Kurram Agency following the peace deal signed by rival tribes.

Commenting on security situation in Parachinar here on Thursday, the Political Agent said that complete ceasefire was being observed in the area due to the peace agreement. The situation, he said, is improving quickly.

He said jirga members were engaged in maintaining lasting peace in the area.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pak-US Joint Attacks on Tribal Areas

Strained Relationships

Due to the growing concerns in the Pakistani establishment about the Afghan government's allegedly surreptitious meddling in the area, The Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, asked US visiting under secretary for South Asia, Richard Boucher, to help stop militants infiltration from Afghanistan.

Zardari did not directly blame the US troops stationed in the Afghan border province, Kunar, of having hands in the facilitation of militants penetration into Pakistan, but it is commonly believed that all these are done under the knowledge of the US agencies.

Zardari implicitly said that drug traffickers in Afghanistan were funding the infiltration of militants into the tribal areas.

Previously, during the reign of Musharaf's government, Awais Ghani, then governor of Baluchistan and currently governor of North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) had accused the Afghan government of arming and sending the Baluch militants.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA)is believed to be involved in many attacks on the Pakistani army. It is noticed that during the battles among the tribes in Parachinar, a border Pakistani town, many soldiers of the Afghan National Army in civil uniforms were fighting on the side of the Tori tribes.

Similarly, hundred of Tori tribesmen have taken refuge in Jaji district, and Khust province of Afghanistan, close to the border of Parachinar.

Kabul is earnestly seeking to maintain good relations with disgruntled Pakistani tribes to spread its influence over these areas.

In the light of the new circumstances, it is suspected that the old players are again in the field trying to utilize the backlash of the operations in tribal areas.

By giving them shelter in Afghanistan, they want to consequently prepare refugees for agitation in the tribal areas. New Delhi may have a lion share in this adventure in order to put pressure on Pakistan either to hands off Kashmir or to agree to Indian conditions on the issue. It can be used to dilute Pakistan’s attention and stand on strategic issues like Siachen Glaciers and water distribution between the two countries.

Strategically, it is in the interest of Pakistan to accommodate the Pakistani Taliban rather than push them into the hug of hostile forces.

Pakistan should learn the lesson from American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Despite seven years of iron-fist strategy in the country, Afghanistan now is acknowledging that it has to talk to the Taliban for a permanent solution of the conflict.

Should the main outsiders once ensconce themselves in the tribal areas, then the solution will slip from Islamabad’s hands, and this will consequently result into unpredictable outcomes, which will not augur well for the integration of this nuclear Islamic power.

Suhail Shaheen is a former Chief Editor of the Kabul Times and a freelance Journalist.

He can be reached through

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nature of challenge in tribal areas

Nature of challenge in tribal areas of Pakistan is having different dimensions, in Kurram tribal agency due to eruption of sectarian violence Parachinar Tull road has been closed for traffic, sources have said that in Sada area of Kurram agency Taliban and Alqaida militants have erected check posts, Shia sect people besieged in Parachinar can not reach to Kohat through Tull Parachinar road, in November 2007 sectarian clashes were started in Kurram agency and now Parachinar capital of Kurram agency is virtually cut off from rest of Pakistan.

A resident of Parachinar has said that now violent clashes between Shia and Sunni sect are stopped by peace efforts of present government both Shia and Sunni sects have realized the futility of violence which harms the interest of both communities and are living in peace with each other


Monday, November 10, 2008

Nato air strikes kill seven in Tirah F.P. Report

Nato air strikes kill seven in Tirah F.P. Report

Monday, November 10, 2008,
Zi'qad 11, 1429 A.H.

MORGA: Seven persons were killed and three others injured when NATO-led fighter jets bombed Tirah valley along Pak-Afghan border in Khyber Agency on Sunday afternoon. The fighter jets targeted a group of 40 pedestrians on Morga mountains in Tirah valley killing seven of the tribals on the spot and three others were injured. The dead and injured were taken to Parachinar. Names of the dead could not be confirmed due non-availabilty of commmunication system as the local tribes are from Mahamod, Ali Sherzai and Chamkani. In Bajaur fighter planes carried out fresh strikes on militants’ hideouts, killing at least 13 in Tehsil Mamond on Sunday. Meanwhile, Mamond and Salarzai tribes will hold separate jirga in order to establish peace in the volatile region. Sources said that security forces heavily pounded militants’ hideouts in Mamond, Damadola and Kharkay in which 13 people were killed. The death toll may rise, according to sources. Helicopter gunships have launched raids on militants’ positions in Zorband and Sabagi areas of the troubled agency. On the other hand, Political Administration has issued a fresh warning asking Afghan refugees to leave the area within next three days, otherwise action will be taken after expiry of deadline given to Afghan refugees. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tearful tribesmen bury more bodies US strikes in Waziristan leaves 14 dead Monitoring Desk
Miranshah: American drone has killed 13 in an attack in the northern Waziristan early on Friday morning, officials said. The attack was carried out at a house in Janikhel area of the region, said an officials. Maulvi Abdullah, a regional Taliban militant has also confirmed to Pajhwok News Agency that at least 13 fighters in the early morning attack. Militants have rented the house for training their fellows, the self proclaimed militant said. Bombing by American pilotless drone in the tribal region bordering the neighbouring Afghanistan has increased despite the disagreement of Pakistani authorities. Four missiles were fired at the camp, in Kumsham village, some 35 kilometres south of Miranshah in North Waziristan province. Security sources said the village is dominated by Wazir tribes and is near the border with South Waziristan. "Between 11 to 14 militants, mainly foreigners, were killed in the strike," a senior military official told media on condition of anonymity. Local official Attiq-ur Rehman also confirmed the strike but gave a different death toll. "There was a missile strike in the Kumsham village and it destroyed a compound, 13 people were killed," he said. An intelligence official added: "The strike successfully destroyed the camp." "The militants were using the facility for training," another said. Maulvi Abdullah, a regional Taliban militant has also confirmed killing of 13 fighters in the early morning attack. Militants have rented the house for training their fellows, the self proclaimed militant said. Bombing by American pilotless drones in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan has increased despite the disagreement of Pakistani authorities. Meanwhile, sixteen militants were killed on Friday as PAF planes bombarded several suspected Taliban hideouts in a restive northwest tribal region, officials said. Jets pounded the towns of Damadola, Sewai and Sipra in Bajaur district where forces have clashed with Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants for the past three months, local administration official Jamil Khan told media. Another security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 16 Taliban militants were killed. The toll may rise as the jets repeatedly bombed the suspected bases, he added. Fourteen people were killed in air strikes in Bajaur on Thursday and 15 extremists died in similar raids on Wednesday, according to local officials. Security officials said the bombing campaign has been stepped up as land forces were planning a ground offensive in these towns where militants are said to have underground bunkers. In another tragic incident, the unidentified armed men fired three missiles at an army camp in Wana from nearby mountains on Friday. Security forces retaliated with automatic and heavy weapons. The firing between the security forces and the militants continued for an hour, however no report of loss of life has been received so far. Political administration while confirming the incident said that investigation is in progress. In Swat, the security forces are continuing operation against the militants and sporadic firing is still going on. The administration has imposed an indefinite curfew in the area. The people are leaving the homes in Matta tehsil, Kabal and Chahar Bagh. Ttwo tribesmen sustained critical injuries when one of them hit a landmine at Shahshu village in Lower Kurram Agency on Friday. An official of political administration said that Sultan Khan and Zahoor were coming from fields as one of them laid foot on roadside landmine. Resultantly, both sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital. President Asif Ali Zardari while condemning the missile attack in North Waziristan expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of life. In North Waziristan on Friday, at least ten people were killed and five others injured in the US spy planes missiles attack in Qamasham area of Razmak Tehsil. The missiles also destroyed two houses whereas all the dead and injured were local people.

Saturday, November 08, 2008,
 Zi'qad 09, 1429 A.H.

Editorial: Bajaur: attacking the jirgas

Daily Times

Editorial: Bajaur: attacking the jirgas

The Salarzai tribe that had begun to oppose the Taliban in Bajaur has been attacked near the town of Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur tribal agency. Their jirga was attacked by a suicide bomber who rushed into the gathering of elders and exploded himself on Wednesday. In all 22 elders were killed, including the leaders and commanders of the lashkar (militia) that they had put together to fight and expel the Taliban and their affiliated “foreigners” from the area. Forty-five members of the 300-strong council of elders were wounded.

An organisation of obscure origin has claimed the deed. This is a pattern and tells us how the Taliban and their patron Al Qaeda have come under pressure lately from the jirgas and reacted. In March, they had to massacre a jirga in Darra Adam Khel and last month they repeated the deed on a jirga in Orakzai agency, killing over a hundred elders. This is stage two of the strategy employed by the terrorists. They began by killing the maliks and single individuals of influence in the Tribal Areas to replace the traditional system of self-governance. Stage two is now upon us and is more problematic.

The jirga remains the apex of the system of authority among the tribes. When the maliks were being killed, the jirgas remained silent, linking the killings to “injustice” in Afghanistan. But as the Taliban began to impose their rule over them with punishments serving as instruments of fear, public reaction to them began to change. The problem was that the state at that time was not around to reassure them that they would be supported if they defied the terrorist regime. But now in Bajaur, for the first time, the Taliban and their “foreigners” are getting hurt in their confrontation with the Pakistan army, as is apparent from the suing for peace by Baitullah Mehsud, their “caliph” in South Waziristan. So now the tribes and jirgas are beginning to reassert themselves.

The Salarzai showed patience when their economy was being demolished and their schools were being pulled down by the Taliban. But after the army began operations in Bajaur, the Salarzai began to express their true response to the Taliban, something that has not happened elsewhere in the Tribal Areas, either because the military operations there have been fitful or have not succeeded. Therefore the attack on the Salarzai jirga clearly shows a new trend in the adventure story of the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine: they are becoming unpopular among the tribesmen and trying to cow them down by attacking their jirgas.

But the jirga killings are simply going to damage the Taliban’s cause further. Nowhere was the popular reaction against the “foreign” terrorists more intense than in the Malakand division (Swat, Dir, etc). But the people there were “softened” in favour of the Taliban by the MMA government in Peshawar which ruled in the area, just as it did not encourage the people of FATA to rise against the terrorists. Thus when the elections rolled around, the Swatis clearly indicted the MMA government for not looking after them. They also began to condemn the government when the military operations inflicted a lot of damage on them without eliminating the terrorists. So the fear factor came in and their message was: leave us to the mercies of the Taliban.

Fortunately, things changed after the exit of President Pervez Musharraf from the scene and his policy of mollifying the MMA because it helped him stay in power through the 17th Amendment. With the PPP in power in Islamabad and an apolitical army chief in the person of General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani heading the army, the scene has changed for the better and the pressure on the Taliban has started to build up. This must be kept up and, more importantly, other tribal agencies should be brought under military operations.

South Waziristan, where the last military operation in May this year discovered the “suicide academy” where suicide-bombers were trained for the whole of Pakistan, is back in the hands of Baitullah Mehsud whose second marriage was celebrated by subservient tribesmen on the occasion of last Eid to show that he was still the “caliph”. Kurram Agency is also a place gradually going out of the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan. Since Peshawar failed to re-establish the traffic on the road going to Parachinar, the agency’s economy has become connected to Afghanistan. If you want to send food and medicines to Parachinar, you have to first smuggle them to Afghanistan. Since the Pakistani state could not come to the help of the besieged tribes there, their co-tribals from Afghanistan are coming in to defend them. This is not a situation which Islamabad can take for very long.

Attacking the jirgas is a sign of weakness in the Taliban “movement”. More and more tribesmen are going to turn against them as their elders are exterminated. More citizens’ militias will be formed against the Taliban; but the terrorists will be rolled back only if the Pakistan army goes in and helps its own people to defend themselves. This is the war that Pakistan has to fight, and from it hangs the prospect of what will happen in the region in the coming weeks and months. *

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Genocide of indigenous people of Parachinar,Kurram Agency in Pakistan by Taliban

Genocide of indigenous people of Parachinar,Kurram Agency in Pakistan by Taliban

Currently, over half a million of people residing in Kurram Agency of tribal areas of Pakistan are facing a catastrophic genocide due to the complicity or ineffectiveness of the Government of Pakistan to establish the rule of law in the Kurram Agency. These people living in the Kurram Agency on the Pak-Afghan Border, are the indigenous population facing the wrath of the extremist militants known as Taliban across the region. The crime of these indigenous people is that they do not subscribe to the ideology of Taliban.

Parachinar is the headquarter of the Kurram Agency, one of the FATA agencies in the North Frontier areas of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border.  This agency is surrounded by other tribal agencies where Taliban and their supporters have strong hold.  But they still have to take over the headquarters of Kurram Agency to establish their complete rule in the region. Violence is their major tactic, including shooting down straight away, beheading or lynching to death. Most of their opponents either have left the areas or submitted to Taliban rule.

The world has become alive to the grave threat of the terrorism to the civilised world since the attacks on the twin towers of New York on 11 September, 2001. But the terrorism perpetrated by those very forces which are now identified as Al-Qaeda and Taliban, is not new to several areas of the tribal belt, known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). It has been playing havoc since the 1980s when the Western world had complicity colluded with the “Mujahideen” to wage a covert war against the Soviet forces that had occupied Afghanistan.

The Mujahideen, with their extremist Islamic worldview, continued to perpetuate in Afghanistan, as well as in Pakistani tribal areas even after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan. Later, they surfaced in the form of the Taliban and took over the whole of Afghanistan. Their counterparts in Pakistani tribal areas also tried to impose the Taliban brand of Islam in these areas, but faced resistance from the local people of Parachinar Kurram Agency.

The Taliban have been killing and plundering the villages around Parachinar and pose a grave threat to the existence of its indigenous people. It’s only people of Parachinar who have been guarding their “Taliban-free” character, and that’s the main reason that the Taliban are bent upon destroying these local people. It’s Parachinar which has got the highest literacy rate in the tribal areas where girls also go to schools, something the Taliban do not tolerate!

These indigenous people of Parachinar had been subjected to many attacks since the 1960s, but now, since 2007, not only the people of Parachinar have been attacked by the Taliban several times, roads coming to this town have also been blockaded by Taliban and their supporters. The Pakistan Government has been complacent or actively complicit in the whole affair on the side of one party, the Taliban, who through violent means are trying to increase their control over the Kurram Agency.

In April 2007, 60 people were killed when Taliban attacked the Parachinar city. Later, the authorities imposed a curfew and no one was allowed to move in or out of the Parachinar town for over two months. This was the first indication of the Taliban infiltration in the Kurram Agency. The Taliban want to use the Kurram Agency like other bordering towns and areas to carry out their insurgency along with Afghan Taliban across the border against the Kabul Administration and NATO forces.

However, the peace loving people of Parachinar opposed the Taliban who had become infuriated and had started taking revenge for their failure by attacking, blockading, kidnapping and beheading innocent people to terrorize their opponents. Since then, there has not been a single day when violence has not struck the Parachinar valley. In November 2007, the Taliban and their supporters, again, attacked the people of Parachinar. This attack left 75 people dead and over 300 wounded. Since then, there has been no reprieve for the people of Parachinar.

Due to the complicity of the minion officials of the local security agencies, and ineffective policies at the higher level, the Taliban were so much emboldened that they started attacking in front of security forces. On 16 April 2008, a convoy of 20-25 vehicles accompanied by the security forces, including the Pakistani Army, was attacked by the Taliban at a town known as Sadda, which falls on the main road between Parachinar and Peshawar.  Four people were killed of the convoy, but the security forces remained silent, perhaps they were not ordered to take any action against the Taliban.

Organized ambushes and attacks aside, the Taliban also carried out two suicide bomber attacks on the people of Parachinar, one on 14 August 2007 and the other on 16 February, 2008, killing 15 and 58 people respectively. It has also been ascertained by the local people of Parachinar that as much as 40 people were slaughtered on different occasions from the only main road link between Parachinar and Peshawar. The Taliban last year took over a contingent of Pakistan security forces spared all of them but beheaded one of them. His only crime was that he belonged to Parachinar.

Recently secondary school examinations were postponed by the Pakistan government because the authorities were not able to maintain law and order situation in Kurram agency. But students in a very unusual way came out on the road and demanded for the holding of exams because they did not want to waste their academic year. Pakistan authorities later restored the examination schedule. But during the examination, two students of village Alizai of the Kurram Agency, were kidnapped by the Taliban. One of them was shot dead straight away, while the other was slaughtered by them at a grave of one of their dead collaborators near village Bagzai.

Moreover, during the same period, the Pakistan Army also killed two local people who were returning to their home. An ambulance carrying patients to a Peshawar from Parachinar was attacked with a rocket-propelled gun by Taliban on a main road. This resulted in the death of seven people including several women. Nowadays Taliban have started target killing of the people of Parachinar who are living, studying and working in Peshawar and other cities of the country. The Pakistani government, as well as its army failed to take any action against Taliban to stop the killings of innocent people. Locals say that the Taliban are being supported by Pakistani government which has given them a free hand for some other gains best known to the authorities.

Posted by hasnain

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Almost one million people of Parachinar remain stranded for more than a year by the criminals of Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba & Al-Qaeda,

Almost one million people of Parachinar remain stranded for more than a year by the criminals of Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba & Al-Qaeda

Appeal for help to the international community

PESHAWAR: Delay in reopening road delays return of peace to Kurram

By Zulfiqar Ali

PESHAWAR, Oct 23: Delay in reopening of Thall-Parachinar Road despite an agreement, reached between the warring tribes of Kurram tribal region in Murree on Oct 16, is likely to shatter people’s confidence.

Under the peace agreement, signed by the rival parties, a 30-member jirga had to proceed to Parachinar on Wednesday last by road to end yearlong blockade of the area bordering Afghanistan.

Former federal minister Malik Waris Khan Afridi, who is leading the jirga, told Dawn that plan had been revised and mediators comprising notables and former parliamentarians from Fata and Hangu district along with 34 local elders were likely to go to Parachinar on Saturday.

“Both parties want lasting peace and have agreed to reopen the main road and resolve the disputes. Now this is the government’s responsibility to facilitate the process for the jirga to proceed to the area by road in order to rebuild confidence of the local people,” he maintained.

He said that further delay in reopening of the main road might shatter peace process, adding that according to the agreement negligence on the part of the local administration or any other government agency might be considered a deliberate move to sabotage the peace process.

“If administration takes jirga members to Parachinar by helicopters then it will not serve the purpose and will spoil all the efforts,” he said and urged that the government should rein in trouble makers to save the peace process.

Upper parts of Kurram had remained cut off from the rest of the country since November 6 last when fierce clashes broke out in the region.

The blockade had badly affected socio-economic activities in the region which forced local people to travel to Peshawar via Afghanistan.

The political administration had made an abortive attempt to open the road in June last for transporting food to Parachinar but the convoy was attacked near Sadda in Lower Kurram.

Sajjid Hussain, an MNA from the area, said that around 1,600 people had been killed and more then 3,000 wounded in fighting, causing large scale displacement and destruction. He said that Fata Secretariat in coordination with the Federal Interior Ministry was working out a plan for road safety.

Sources said that one of the reasons for delaying visit of jirga was immediate transfer of political agent Mohammad Azam Khan, who was posted as managing director of Sarhad Tourism Corporation.

Officials said that as the political agent was transferred after he was promoted to grade 20. Only grade 19 officer can be posted as political agent of Kurram.

“Transfer of Azam Khan at this very moment was not a wise decision on the part of the government.

His transfer conveys a clear message that government is not sincere in restoration of peace in Kurram,” said a jirga member from Parachinar. He said that Azam Khan should stay in Parachinar once joint jirga reached by road to start dialogue.

Sources said that normalcy was fast returning to Kurram valley and rival groups had voluntarily vacated trenches in sensitive areas and stopped plundering and destroying each other properties.

In Parachinar town, the administrative headquarters, local elders have voluntarily placed complete ban on display of weapons. Peace committees have been set up to check the movement of miscreants. (Dawn)

By Zulfiqar Ali

ANALYSIS: Blind to the threat —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

Daily Times

ANALYSIS: Blind to the threat —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

If the Taliban agenda was nothing more than the expulsion of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan their efforts to expand their domain to some of the settled districts of the NWFP makes no sense. And what is the justification of the sectarian violence in Kurram Agency?

The government and major opposition parties are euphoric over the unanimous passage of the resolution on militancy in the tribal areas during the joint session of parliament. They think that they have evolved a credible approach to dealing with the insurgency and its violent fallout in mainland Pakistan.

The government is pleased with the resolution because it can easily project this development as an indication of growing political harmony among Pakistan’s diverse political actors. Opposition parties had initially used the joint session to build pressure on the government. The PMLN leadership, for instance, criticised the government for its refusal to honour the commitment to restore all superior court judges through an executive order. The government also faced criticism for its inability to halt the current economic downslide. The unanimous resolution eases some pressure on the government for the time being.

The PMLN, the Jama’at-e Islami and the JUIF are happy that the resolution neutralises, if not negates, the official argument that the war on terror is Pakistan’s war. The resolution accommodates the major positions of these parties on militancy and the operations in the tribal areas by calling for the withdrawal of regular troops from the region.

The resolution serves the interests of the Pakistani Taliban, who must be pleased that the resolution endorses their major demands without asking for any reciprocal commitment. It suggests the end of the army operation and consequent withdrawal, something the Taliban have been demanding since the beginning of the operation. It also calls for negotiations with the Taliban on the contentious issues.

What does the government get in return? Nothing. The Taliban have not made any commitment so far on suspending their violent activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan in response to the resolution, not to speak of agreeing to function within the framework of the Pakistani constitution.

The optimism surrounding the passage of this resolution is misplaced. It is well known that a parliamentary resolution, even when adopted unanimously, is not binding on the government. It has moral and political implications, but they are usually not acted upon. Even if they are, it is selective. It would be interesting to know how many members were present in the session with the resolution was approved ‘unanimously’.

The resolution is a good declaration of intent, with emphasis on the peaceful and negotiated settlement of differences. However, it does not outline ways and means to operationalised its basic ideas into concrete policy measures. Some suggestions are not likely to be implemented at all, which will start a new polemical debate between the government and the opposition.

Representatives of the military provided detailed briefing to the parliamentarians to underline the major threat to internal security and stability posed by the Taliban, and to highlight that the Taliban were trying to establish an alternate authority by paralysing the Pakistani state. The current political government shares this perspective. The president and the prime minister have issued several statements over the last two months supporting military action. It is clear from their policy statements that they would like these operations to continue till state authority is firmly established.

The army wanted the political parties to support it in its venture in the tribal areas. Such support is needed because the army and paramilitary forces have lost over three thousand personnel in these operations over the last five years.

Yet the resolution does not have a word of sympathy for the armed forces, which is likely to disappoint them. Parliamentarians should have appreciated their efforts and then asked for limited or no use of force in the tribal areas. It seems that the parliamentarians hardly paid any attention to the briefings and drafted the resolution based on their pre-briefing perspectives.

The Islamist perspective, which does not view the Taliban as a threat to Pakistan, seems to dominate the resolution. The Taliban are portrayed as one of the ‘stakeholders’ in the political equation. There is no condemnation of suicide attacks or the blowing up of girls’ schools or public executions.

The PMLN, the PMLQ, the Jama’at-e Islami, the JUIF, the Tehreek-e Insaf and a host of Islamist groups take a na├»ve view of violence in the tribal areas and beyond. Instead of viewing the Taliban as Pakistan’s adversary, they sympathise with them as they are fighting US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. They hold the view that the Taliban will have no reason to use violence if American troops quit Afghanistan, since Pakistan’s support for the war on terror is the main cause of insurgency east of the Durand Line. In other words, changes have to be made in Pakistan’s policies, not in the Taliban’s.

American presence in Afghanistan can be viewed as one of the factors responsible for the Taliban resurgence. However, by now, the Taliban have expanded their agenda to include the establishment of a political and administrative domain in and around the tribal areas by neutralising the writ of the Pakistani state.

If the Taliban agenda was nothing more than the expulsion of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan their efforts to expand their domain to some of the settled districts of the NWFP makes no sense: no American troops are present in these areas. And what is the justification of the sectarian violence in Kurram Agency?

It is not clear if US troops in Afghanistan can be put under pressure by the Taliban policy of threatening Pakistani businesspeople and warning them against involvement in any ventures that are unacceptable to the Taliban. The main target of the Taliban is the Pakistani state, yet the resolution fails to take this into account.

Given the expanded Taliban agenda, the government of Pakistan will find it difficult to completely withdraw forces from the tribal areas and leave the security of the region to the insufficiently trained and equipped paramilitary forces. The resolution gives some leverage to the government by suggesting that the army be replaced “where possible with civilian law enforcement agencies with enhanced capacity”. However, the opposition expects a total cessation of military operations, which the government cannot initiate in the absence of a commitment by the Taliban to respect Pakistani state authority and end all violence.

If the opposition parties, the JUIF and parliamentarians from the tribal areas are interesting in evolving an amicable settlement of the trouble in the tribal areas, they should set up a committee for initiating non-official dialogue with the Taliban leadership to formulate proposals for a possible solution. Both sides will be expected to interact within the framework of the constitution. If some credible proposals can be evolved, the opposition would have a better case for implementing the parliamentary resolution.

Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi is a political and defence analyst\10\26\story_26-10-2008_pg3_2

october, 26, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lightning kills FC troop, injures three

Lightning kills FC troop, injures three
PARACHINAR (APP): At least one FC man was killed and three others injured due to lightening in Shakardara area in Kurram Agency on Thursday. According to local political administration Naeem Khattak was killed while Naik Qayum Khan, Zabat Khan Mehsud and Gul Zaman sustained critical injuries when lightening hit them at Shakai check post in Lower Kurram Agency.

The Frontier Post
Friday, October 31, 2008,
Dhil-Q'ada 1, 1429 A.H.