Thursday, July 30, 2009

Religious fanatics responsible for Kurram crisis

 Religious fanatics responsible for Kurram crisis
Thursday, July 30, 2009
By By Tauseef-ur-Rahman
PESHAWAR: Speakers at a daylong dialogue here on Wednesday expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in the Kurram Agency and termed the government, the neighbouring countries and religious fanaticism responsible for the strife.

"The Mullahs (clerics) cannot decide the fate of the people. Take powers from them and things will be settled down," said Munir Hussain, a resident of the agency, speaking at a dialogue titled 'Humanitarian Crisis in Kurram Agency: Need for Effective Remedial Measures' organised jointly by Actionaid and the Centre for Research and Social Development (CRSD).

Munir said the Shia and Sunni sects were living peacefully in the agency but after religious fanatics took hold of power, the sectarian issue started in the agency. He said that today the clerics were enjoying all powers in the agency and Maliks, elders and political administration had become powerless and helpless against them.

The speaker said the conflict in the restive Kurram Agency was not sectarian rather it was tribal feud among various tribes on different issues but they were portrayed as a sectarian issue.

Another speaker held the banned religious outfits responsible for the conflict, saying unless the armed religious groups from both Sunni and Shia sects were eliminated, durable peace in Kurram Agency would remain a far cry. "The situation will not improve in the agency until the government takes strict action against banned religious organisations active in the agency," he said.

Dr Riaz Hussain, the PPP president of the agency, said that time and again he informed the PPP-led federal government about the ongoing situation in the Kurram Agency and difficulties being faced to the people but to no avail. "The government as well as the spy agencies know what is going on in the Kurram Agency but they are silent over the sufferings of the people," he said.

Dr Riaz said the government had to take action against foreign and local militants in the agency to restore its writ.

Attaullah Khan, another resident of Kurram Agency, alleged that religious organisations from the two sects were actively involved in fanning sectarian violence between the two sects. He demanded of the government to conduct an inquiry into the massacre in Kurram Agency through a judicial commission and the culprits should be awarded exemplary punishment.

Dr Said Alam Mahsud, leader of Amn Tehrik, held religious fanaticism responsible for the unrest in the area. He said it was started during the regime of General Ziaul Haq with the aim of defeating former Soviet Union. He strongly criticised foreign elements for meddling in the affairs of Kurram Agency, saying that Uzbeks, Arabs and Punjabis should keep themselves away from the issue.

The PMAP leader said it was the responsibility of the state to resolve the issue. He said the state had, however, failed to resolve the conflict in the last three years and now the tribesmen had themselves taken the initiative to solve the problem as per Pakhtunwali.

Senior journalist Shamim Shahid accused some foreign countries of harbouring and providing huge funds to their respective ideological militant groups for their own vested interests. He said the clergy exploited the Pakhtuns in the name of religion and they should get rid of such forces to resolve their issues amicably.




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