Kurram Agency wracked by fierce clashes
PARACHINAR: Fierce clashes which erupted in the Kurram tribal region last week continued on Thursday night and Friday and the administration appears to be powerless to do anything to end the fighting. Sources said that the death toll in the week-long clashes rose to 14 after six people died in gun-battles on Friday night.
More than 50 people have been wounded. They said that rival factions exchanged heavy fire in the upper and lower Kurram regions bordering Afghanistan. A 16-member jirga which arrived in Parachinar last week has not been able to persuade the rivals to cease-fire.
Reports reaching here indicated that clashes had spilled over to Kirman, Parachamkani, Piwar, Tari Mingal and other parts of the Lower Kurram. Sources said that the administration had withdrawn paramilitary forces from the troubled areas.
At least 700 people have been killed and over 1,200 wounded since the conflict started on April 6.
The sources said that Political Agent Zaheerul Islam had complained about Kurram militia’s refusal to cooperate with the local administration in its efforts to quell the clashes, adding that security forces had also turned down the administration’s request to intervene to restore order.
Local people said three people had been killed in Sadda Town and three others in Kirman. Two houses in a village in Balishkhel have been damaged.
The region has been without electricity for one month and is facing an acute shortage of foodstuff and medicine. Trade with Afghanistan via Kurram has been stopped because of road blockade.
The fibre optic system was damaged near Sadda on Friday, cutting off Parachinar’s telecommunication links with other parts of the country.
Fata Secretariat officials in Peshawar have been saying that the situation in Kurram “would improve very soon”. Deputy Secretary Security, Fata, Islam Zeb told this correspondent “Our efforts will soon be successful.” But legislators from Kurram blame the NWFP governor and the federal government for the situation in the agency.
“We have requested the prime minister and the governor to order forces to take immediate action against the handful of elements responsible for the clashes,” said one parliamentarian. “It appears that the government is deliberately allowing the situation to deteriorate,” he added.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.