Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sectarian strife: Kurram Agency peace deal on shaky ground

The Express Tribune

Sectarian strife: Kurram Agency peace deal on shaky ground

Published: April 16, 2011
Malik says tribesmen responsible for securing roads. PHOTO: FILE
A fragile peace deal between the Sunnis and Shias from Kurram Agency is under threat barely two months after an agreement between the warring tribes helped reopen the Tal-Parachinar road after more than four years.
Lawmakers from tribal areas, most of whom brokered the deal, in the National Assembly on Friday urged the government to secure the road.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that under the agreement, it was the tribesmen who were responsible for securing the road and not the government.
Speaking in the House, tribal MPs recalled the attack in the Bagan area of lower Kurram Agency some fortnight ago where 10 Shia tribesmen were killed and 40 were allegedly kidnapped by the Taliban groups based in Orakzai.
Kurram is the only tribal district with a Shia majority and has been caught in the grip of sectarian violence for the past four years.
Tal-Parachinar is the only road that links Kurram with the outside world and its closure over the past few years has reportedly made life for locals miserable.
Earlier this year, in February, the road was reopened after the tribal elders, along with parliamentarians, brokered a peace deal hoping to put an end to the age-old dispute.
However, the improvised explosive device (IED) allegedly planted by the Taliban on the roadside that killed 10 Shia tribesmen and led to the kidnapping of 40 others, put an end to any peace deal that may have been in the works.
Malik claimed the government would do whatever was possible to secure the deal and added that aerial surveillance of the route was also an option.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th,  2011.

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