Thursday, March 26, 2009

No end to sufferings in Parachinar

 No end to sufferings in Parachinar
Thursday, March 26, 2009
By By Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: Another humanitarian crisis is in the making in the Kurram Agency, as the main roads leading to the tension-plagued area remain blocked for the last four weeks.

Some residents of Parachinar (the capital of Kurram Agency), who managed to safely move out and settle down here in Islamabad, told The News that the bulk of the agency area was under siege, facing an economic blockade, and presented the look of another Gaza.

They were of the view that NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani and the federal government were required to show greater interest in bringing normalcy to the agency, after ensuring that the decisions taken during the Jirga sessions in the recent months were implemented in letter and spirit.

When approached on telephone for comments, Sajid Hussain Turi, who is an MNA from NA-37 Kurram Agency, said the inhabitants were fed up with the seething tensions and bloody clashes, which had been the order of the day for about two years.

"The rival sides are desperately waiting for peace to return and are prepared for peace moves," the parliamentarian maintained and added that he would be accompanying a Jirga, likely to leave for the Kurram Agency on Thursday for defusing the tension there.

He explained that representatives from Khyber Agency, Bajaur Agency, Mohmand Agency and Orakzai Agency, including Malik Abdullah Bangash, Malik Waris Afridi, Syed Badshah Mian, Fazal Advocate, Bismillah Khan Orakzai and Najmul Hasan Orakzai would be part of the team.

To a question as to how much the federal government and the governor had been helpful in facilitating this initiative, he said that besides the Ministry of Interior, the Fata Secretariat in Peshawar had been handy in arranging their trip by a helicopter.

All members of the Jirga, he noted, were Sunnis and Shias, who had great concern like everyone in Pakistan to help bring back peace to the agency, ridding it of tensions, sieges and terrorism.

"Presently, both sides have taken hostage some locals. If they are not freed through peaceful intervention, this can lead to eruption of fighting again," he cautioned while replying to another question.

Generally speaking, the law maker stated that the residents were peace loving and had realised that certain elements, who had come from the tribal areas, were hell-bent on destroying peace and tranquility.

"The stocks of food, medicines and other needs of daily life are about to exhaust which, if not averted, can further compound hardships of people there because of the continuous blockade of roads," he cautioned.

Meanwhile, this correspondent received an e-mail from the Voice of Parachinar on March 23. It was learnt that the website was run by some local youths. Through the communication, the residents urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo moto notice of the worsening state of affairs in the Kurram Agency. The e-mail also accompanied four bone-chilling pictures of slaughtered persons. The way they were slaughtered could not be translated into words.



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