Tribal disputes in Kurram

Farhat Taj June 05, 2010

In an unusual move in May 2010 the Commandant of the Kurram Scouts convened a tribal jirga of both Sunni and Shia tribal leaders to repatriate displaced families to their native areas and to implement the Murree agreement signed in November 2008. The agreement asks for armed tribal groups to vacate their positions, the repatriation of IDPs and supply of food and medicine to the affected areas. The government has failed to implement the agreement and people of Kurram continue to suffer in violence.

Now, the commandant has initiated a move to make peace in the area. But tribal leaders have serious reservations over the move. The commandant never consulted the political agent of the agency and he has no legal authority to convene such a jirga although he insists he has been ‘given’ authority to do so. He invited controversial non-locals to the jirga, such as Javed Ibrahim Paracha who is not from Fata but from Kohat and is known to harbour sectarian views and is considered close to militants. The Shia tribesmen hold him responsible for the sufferings in the area and accuse him of sheltering al Qaeda elements. The Sunnis consider him an intruder who poisons their relationship with their Shia compatriots for his
vested interests.

The commandant offered that 200 Sunni IDP families from Parachinar be accommodated in the Akhtar Academy building. Sunni tribal leaders asked the commandant to accommodate them in an area in Parachinar since the city was said to be under the federal government’s writ. The commandant disagreed and threatened to take requisite action against those tribal leaders who would not comply. The Sunni tribal leaders said that it was in the presence of the former commandant that many of their people were killed and the rest displaced from their homes, so it was hard for them to trust the current one. They also felt that the commandant was putting them in an awkward situation. Once back in Parachinar they would be vulnerable to heavily armed sectarian groups. This would provide an excuse to the military to start operations in Parachinar. The commandant had offered a plan to rehabilitate the Turi Bangash in Sadda Town in Kurram on their properties — the Turi were pushed out of their properties because of sectarian fighting way back in the 1980s. The commandant had tried to construct gates on roads leading to villages. The local Shia tribesmen demonstrated against the construction and under public pressure the commandant abandoned the plan.

The crisis in Kurram and the rest of Fata is beyond the capacity of the local commandants and political agents. Everything they do simply adds to the sufferings. The president of Pakistan should implement the Political Parties Act in the area so that disputes can be resolved through local political leadership. Intelligence agencies must stop using the area as a strategic space for its ‘great games’.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 6th, 2010.


N. Hussain | 12 years ago | Reply First of all let me say that those who want to blame the opposite sect in such a crucial situation are not doing good for himself, for the sect which he belongs and not good for the entire kurram. As such kind of behavior leads to prolong the conflict rather to resolve. Despite that, I would suggest that it is responsibility of the government to launch intelligence operation in the agency to collect exact, accurate and impartial data under the supervision of honest, well-reputed and neutral team of experts consisting retired civilians, army and judiciary officials. Afterward, the govt. has to initiate cleansing operation against those got involved in having contacts or promoting sectarianism in the agency, no matter how strong he might be. As we have been hearing that there are terrorists, miscreants or foreign agents hiding in the mountaneous areas. It is rsonsibility of the government to identify, locate and flesh them out. The government is and can dismentle the network of these terrorists. Terrorist is terrorist neither he is Sunni nor Shia. Both religion condemn and does not allow to kill innocent people.As The Quraan-e-Majeed has declared by saying "Laa ikraha fi deen" Deen main koi jabar nahi. Sunnis are Muslims and Shias are also muslims, the only difference is that they have adopted different approaches to it, as Islam is one and there is no dispute amongst Sunnis and Shias on Islam. And those who create differences amongst Muslims are agents, purely working for vicivous circle and getting money in the name of religion. May I say that not Kurram Agency alone but the entire region including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some Central Asian states are facing the same problem but in different shape and nature. The entire region has become a huge pit-where big, medium and small and some deprived(the common man and woman)forces are asserting their power to influence the other force. This attempt is being made individually or in a form of group or in a network form in order to achieve their short term and long terms goals. How an ordinary citizen of FATA especially Kurram Agency can imagine and assess this big and multidimential game. Let us see to the future what is ahead. I believe that something new and huge and drastic can take place any time, and any where that would definitley lead to new scenario. At the same time I believe man proposes but God disposes.
Marjan Turi | 12 years ago | Reply I just want to clarify and keep the record straight about the statement of Ikhtiar Afghani. Turis went to Aryob because they were in need of peace but you forgot the historical brotherhood between Turis and Jajis who are considered as brothers.The hurdle between these tribe is Mangal and unfortunately Jajis support Mangals tribe having dispute with Turis. You may know that Jajis from Maidan are still freely moving in Kurram and availing good respect and support in Parachinar but those in Aryob are providing supports and logestics to Mangals. You assured turis to provide passage via Tari Mangal and it was agreed that if Mangals close the road for Turis, Jajis will not allow Mangals to pass through their area but jajis never fulfilled this obligation. You nominated Turis as Barbarians and support of Iran. Turis has no boarder with Iran and in between is your country Afghanistan, how Iran reach there? You know very well that during the days of Jihad in Afghanistan you all availed good support from Iran and now you forgot every thing. Turis just defended their land and integrity which is their right. The looting or killing is the tradition of so called taliban born and nurished in your country.
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