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