DERA ISMAIL KHAN/ HANGU:
The tribal elders from central and lower Kurram agreed to a peace deal on Sunday to end the six-day bloody clashes, which took 50 lives, and led to a blackout of electricity and internet and kept traffic off the roads in 70% area of the tribal district.
The agreement was signed by the elders of two main sects after their talks in Alizai Qila under the supervision of the Thal Scouts and the Kurram district administration. Both sides agreed to end the sectarian tension between the two warring tribes.
The signatory to the agreement were Aqeel Hussain, Shujaatullah, Anwar Hussain, from the one side and Famanullah, Nasir Bangash and Syed Zulfiqar Shah from the other side. The agreement was made in the context of attacks on vehicles in Charkhel.
According to the agreement, it is learnt, both sides will make every effort to maintain peace in the area and the local elders will be responsible for peace in their respective areas; and if any outsider tries to sabotage the peace, the tribal elders will hand him over to the civil administration.
Under the other conditions agreed in the peace deal, display of weapons will be strictly prohibited; all bunkers will be emptied and no new bunkers will be built and people from all the sects will be responsible for peace in their respective areas.
Similarly, the agreement said that the people residing along Defence-Tall-Parachinar road will be responsible for peace on the road and highways in their areas. Both sides agreed that they would not clash and thwart any designs against the country.
Read also: No let-up in Kurram unrest
The agreement was reached between the two sides after six days of bloody clashes in the Kurram tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). For the past week, the district remained paralysed because of the clashes, which also continued on early Sunday.
The locals complained that electricity remained cut off, internet service suspended and all transportation routes closed in the Kurram district, besides a shortage of medicines and even food, loomed over several areas.
“There is total blackout in the entire Kurram district. This is very sad,” a Kurram resident said. “Why are the government institutions remaining silent spectators. A bloody war is going on for the six days,” he said, requesting anonymity.
The trouble in the district started last week over a territorial dispute in a village. Later a scandalous video of an arrested accused added fuel to fire. To make the matter worse, some people used ‘religious card’ to foment sentiments by exploiting people’s beliefs.
“The district is prone to violence due to the use of religious card by some segments and due to this the deployment of security forces were demanded days ahead of this incident but the authorities were not serious as a result precious lives were lost,” said a local resident, while talking to The Express Tribune.
Read: Army, FC deployed in Kurram as land disputes escalate
The local tribal elders tried to intervene and held Jirga to broker a ceasefire between the two groups but their efforts failed to produce immediate result. Similarly, the law-enforcement officials also failed in their efforts to establish peace in the district, according to the locals.
Witnesses and tribesmen in the area told The Express Tribune that the clashes continued on the sixth consecutive day on Sunday, adding that the overall death toll from these clashes rose to 50 and many more injured.
“Armed groups took positions on the mountain tops in broad daylight but the district police officer and deputy commissioners didn’t take any action to stop them because these rival factions are heavily armed,” said another Kurram resident.
“There is a lot of panic in the area. There is fear of further losses due to lack of medicines in local hospitals,” he continued. Commuters and civilians were being targeted on the traffic routes, he said, adding that “even convoys [of vehicles] in official protection are also being targeted”.
Reports coming out of the district suggested that a very tense situation continued to prevail in Sada, Balishkhel, Piwar, Trimangal, Muqbal, Nastikot, Kadman Para Chamkani and other areas, as fighting raged. “They are targeting each other and the nearby population with heavy shelling.”
When attempts were made to contact deputy commission and district police officer of Kurram, both the top officials in the district administration remained in accessible. The residents demanded immediate deployment of the army on all roads and highways.