Friday, April 22, 2011

Parachinar students want decisive action against militants

Mumtaz Alvi
Friday, April 22, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Scores of students hailing from Parachinar on Thursday made an impassioned appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to intervene into the militancy-triggered humanitarian crisis in Kurram Agency.

Desperation written large on their faces, the youths, who had come from Peshawar to join other natives of the tribal agency, in the protest in front of the Parliament House, wondered why the government and the security forces had so far not been able to take on the militants.

In the given circumstances with their family members under siege for so long, they complained, it was very hard for them to concentrate on their studies, as they were supposed to. "Everybody in the agency continues to feel increasingly insecure for the last four years because of diabolical activities of the anti-state elements," lamented some of the students during a chat with The News.

These youths, studying in academic institutions of Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar, are desperate to reunite with their family members in Parachinar and elsewhere in Kurram Agency. Well over 0.5 million people in the agency face day-to-day problems, from a free movement to provision of medicines, vegetables and edibles. "We have gathered here to make our leaders sitting in the Presidency, Prime Minister House and the GHQ to realise the gravity of the situation we have been in since long," they contended.

Hasan Fakhri (doing BSc honours from Peshawar Agriculture University), who is the convenor of the Youth of Parachinar, under which these students gathered in the federal capital, said they had no doubt in their mind that if the government had the will, it could restore peace in the agency within days. He said they were not asking for the moon: they were raising their voice for a decisive action against the enemies of humanity. "It is the state's fundamental responsibility to protect life and property of its citizens and the same we are pleading for here," he argued.

Zulqarnain, Muhammad Adil, Noor Nabi and Kamran Bangash and a few others, who spoke to this correspondent, brushed aside the impression that what was happening in the agency was partly the result of any Sunni-Shia rift there.

They pointed out the Youth of Parachinar consisted of both Sunni and Shia students and they had one common wish to see restoration of peace in Kurram Agency. Asked why in their opinion, the government had failed so far to drive out the militants and restore pace or at least make it the vital road link between the agency and the rest of Pakistan i.e. the Parachinar-Tall Road safe for movement, they apprehended, this could be against their interests to do so. It was learnt the only possibility now to reach the agency was by air but the one-side fare was Rs8,000-22,000, which the rich could afford and not the common residents of Kurram Agency. 

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