Twenty-five heavily-armed militants stormed into a wedding function in Hamid Machine village late Tuesday night and demanded the ‘anti-religious’ celebrations to stop.
The militants, carrying rocket launchers and machine guns, destroyed musical instruments in the hujra of a resident Younas, whose wedding was scheduled for Friday.
“Around 10 men entered the hujra where the mehndi was taking place and 15 others waited outside the building,” said a local elder, requesting anonymity. He added that militants had said that this was against religion and not allowed in ‘their’ area. Locals said it was the first time such an incident had happened.
Residents added that the militants’ hostile attitude towards Adezai villagers was well-known but it is the first time that militants had interfered with people in Hamid Mahcine on Azakhel road. The incident has sent a wave of panic across the region.
Former head of the Adezai Aman militia, Dilawar Khan criticised the police for not handling the situation. “The police is entirely responsible,” he said, “they are reluctant to take action against militants and their sympathisers in the area.”
Dilawar said the act was alarming as it indicates the presence of militancy in the area despite his militia having been disbanded. “The writ of the government is limited to the daytime after which militants freely roam the area,” he said.
Mattani police said that they have had no information about the incident and that no one had approached them in this regard.
Militants have previously declared the people of nearby Mattani village ‘neutral’ and have pledged time and time again not to target them. Inhabitants of other nearby villages were also expecting the same, but after their call to bar playing music, locals have become fearful.
An elder from Mattani said that militants claim that their enemies are based in Adezai — where a peace militia rose against them — while the people of Mattani have been declared ‘safe’ and are not meant to be targeted.
However, after the latest event, villagers fear for their lives once again.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2012.