Peshawar: 49 elders of rival groups arrested for refusing to hold peace talks
PESHAWAR: Members of a peace jirga from the Kurram tribal region were arrested on Tuesday and sent to the central jail Peshawar after they refused to hold peace talks. Peshawar police chief Attaullah Wazir said the 49 members of the jirga had been detained at the request of the political administration of Kurram Agency from a guest-house where they were staying. The jirga comprising elders of two rival groups which have been engaged in bloody clashes for months had come here to hold talks and resolve their dispute.
Political authorities said the jirga members were reluctant to start talks and the step had to be taken under compulsion. Under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, political administration has powers to arrest tribesmen and confiscate their movable and immovable property. The elders representing different tribes of Kurram region were brought from Parachinar to Peshawar on May 9 by helicopters for talks and restoration of peace in the agency.
The government had also set up a 15-member jirga from Hangu and Orakzai to support the talks. Head of the jirga, Haji Khan Afzal, accused both sides of being slack. “They will remain in jail till they agree to begin peace dialogue,” he said. Members of the jirga, he added, were using delaying tactics and were not serious about holding talks. Despite a ceasefire, after months of bloody clashes, the Kurram region remains tense and the road between Thall and Parachinar is closed to traffic. Troops have been deployed along the main road to escort convoys carrying goods.
Captain (retd) Akbar, an elder of Kurram, said that they had called upon the administration to arrange an immediate ceasefire in the Upper Kurram before the start of formal talks. He said the people of Tari Mingal and Piwar had been fighting for three months, but the administration had failed to end the clashes. “Our demand is that the government should take action to stop the fighting in Piwar and Tari Mingal then hold negotiations,” he said, adding that “administration was forcing us to held talks”. Fata’s additional chief secretary Habibullah Khan told Dawn that clashes had stopped in Tari Mingal area but the obduracy of rival groups stood in the way of peace talks.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.