Kohat: Taliban free eight hostages
KOHAT: Taliban on Friday freed eight government employees in Orakzai Agency as a “goodwill gesture” in response to government’s move to halt the military operation in Hangu.
The hostages who were handed over to the jirga after talks in the Dabori area include PTCL SDO Qamar Zaman, Wapda sub-engineer Khan Mir Shah, Wapda draughtsman Aslam Pervez, National Savings cashier Zahir Shah and constable Amir Jang.
Sources said that the administration’s representatives included Political Agent of the Orakzai Agency Kamran Zeb, DCO Hangu Shahabullah Shah, DSP Shah Ali Kayani, MPA Mufti Janan, Hangu Nazim Khan Afzal, Maulana Din Asghar and Haji Faizullah.
Taliban claimed that 19 government employees were still in their custody. The exact number of hostages is disputed by the Taliban and the government.
District Nazim Khan Afzal told Dawn that the jirga had persuaded the Taliban to free the hostages on Thursday night, and the freed hostages arrived in Hangu on Friday morning.
The district nazim appealed to both sides to stop what he termed blaming each other for what had happened, saying that any misunderstanding could affect the fragile peace which had been achieved after a lot of bloodshed and destruction.
Meanwhile, there was a curfew relaxation in Doaba and on the Hangu-Thall road from 10am till 4pm. No untoward incident was reported and the Parachinar traffic moved smoothly.