Saturday, May 21, 2011

NA body calls on army to restore peace in Kurram

Daily Times
NA body calls on army to restore peace in Kurram
* Parachinar heading towards famine; out of food, medicines 

* Locals say Taliban ruling the area, have support of FC

By Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of the uncertain security situation in Parachinar, Kurram Agency, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights on Friday asked the Defence Ministry to ask the Pakistan Army to control the situation and restore peace in the area.

As the people of the area are totally cut off from rest of the country, committee Chairman, MNA Riaz Fatyana, said that it was the right time for the Pakistani forces, particularly the army, to take action against the terrorists and re-open the road leading towards Parachinar.

A young representative team of Parachinar, led by Shabir Sajid, informed the human rights committee that the area was badly affected in the last four years due to the ongoing war on terror. Due to the closure of roads for general transport, food and provision of medicines, problems had risen that had resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. According to a rough estimate, he said around 35 small villages were totally destroyed in Parachinar due to the influence of the Taliban and claimed that some personnel of the Frontier Constabulary were also involved in unlawful activities.

Sajid further informed the committee that 73 schools and colleges had been destroyed in the last four years and regretted that all this had happened with the support of the law enforcement agencies. The team regretted that in March, around 45 people were kidnapped and after three days, dead bodies of 12 people were found from various areas and the remaining 33 people were sill missing. After paying the FC officials as part of a deal, the bodies of 12 kidnapped people were recovered, Sajid alleged. He demanded of the committee that just like in Waziristan, the Kurram Agency should be handed over to the army to get rid of the Taliban.

Interior Ministry's National Crisis Management Cell Director General Javed Iqbal Mughal informed the committee that the government and political administration of the Kurram Agency had made efforts to open the main Thall-Parachinar Road, which had been closed for the last five years for the general public. He said that a jirga had succeeded in a mutual deed between Shias and Sunnis and the road was opened in the recent past. However, due to an attack by terrorists on a convoy in Baggan, the road was still unsafe for general traffic. The political administration and a FATA jirga were making efforts to resolve the issue and open the road. Despite the volatile situation, convoys of goods and commuters were being carried out under the escort of the Kurram Militia from Peshawar to Parachinar and vice versa.

However, the Parachinar team completely denied that the supply of food items and medicines had totally stopped in the agency, although there was a famine-like situation in the area, particularly in Parachinar. They also claimed that the price of a 20-kilogramme flour bag in the area was Rs 9,000. The FC officials were taking bribes while allowing trucks carrying flour to the agency and the team claimed that it was on record.

The committee Chairman, Riaz Fatyana, asked all public colleges and universities across the country to accommodate the students of Parachinar until peace had been completely restored in the area.

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