Bara action detainees to be freed
LANDI KOTAL: The political administration of Khyber Agency has announced that people arrested during ‘Sirat-i-Mushtaqeem’ operation in Bara area will be released. The administration has also accepted the demand of the banned Lashkar-i-Islam to suspend the operation and open the Bara bazaar and local roads.
A total of 93 people were arrested in the town during the week-long operation, most of them for violating curfew. Only 11 activists of the banned group were arrested. Sources said the detainees, most of whom had been taken to the Haripur jail, were likely to be released in a couple of days.
Political Agent Tariq Hayat told journalists after meeting a jirga that the operation had been suspended and the curfew relaxed because of the hardship being faced by the people. He said paramilitary forces would remain in Bara till the completion of talks being held by the jirga. He said the jirga had been empowered to hold talks with leaders of the group in accordance with Shariat and local customs and traditions.
“The assistant political agent of Bara and political tehsildars of Jamrud and Bara sub-divisions will remain in touch with the 10-member jirga on behalf of the administration”, he said. The jirga, which mostly comprises activists and sympathisers of Lashkar-i-Islam, will leave for Tirah valley on Monday to convey a message from the administration. The jirga will submit its report to the administration on Wednesday. Meanwhile, intense fighting continued between supporters of Lashkar-i-Islam and Ansarul Islam in Tirah.
According to independent sources, over 50 people from both sides have been killed over the past 15 days. Both sides are using heavy weapons in attacks on each other’s positions. The chiefs of the two groups, Mangal Bagh and Mulana Mehboob, are commanding their armed activists. The two groups have been at loggerheads since June 2006. Mangal Bagh recently reiterated his resolve to ‘conquer’ Tirah and bring the entire Khyber Agency under his control