Tribal disputes in Kurram

Published: June 6, 2010
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Farhat Taj is currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban. (farhat.taj@tribune.com.pk)

Farhat Taj is currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban. ([email protected])

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.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Jun 6, 2010 - 1:15AM

    We have made much hue and cry over Gaza, and rightly so. However, they are areas such Kurram which are totally ignored with the population under siege. I would blame the government for delegating the welfare of an entire agency to the local commandant. But then again, with the rest of the nation so indifferent to what happens; I guess then we have no one to blame but ourselves. Recommend

  • Shafi Afridi
    Jun 6, 2010 - 8:07AM

    I appreciate Farhat for her interest in FATA affairs and objective analysis. She is true. Recenly durinf a meeting of the steering comittee of Aman Tehrik held on June 3, 2010, memebrs from various areas of Pakhtunkhwa like Buner, Kohat, Wazrisan (both north and south) narrated their woes. They appreciaed Pak army and its fight against terrorism but also suggested its non-involve in civil affairs.They are not good at it. Many compalints agains their behaviour, junior officers insulting elders of the area. For example, one memebr from Buner said that an army officer at Buner force locals thrown in a nearby stream on flimsy mistake.Similalry Swatis opposed their involvment in reconstruction and civil affairs. Most of the Pathans lamnet their behviour on main roads towards Kohat.

    Peshawar (khyber Pakhtunkhwa)Recommend

  • Abidshah
    Jun 6, 2010 - 11:17PM

    This is strange that the commandant Kurram Militia became active to initiate peace process in Kurram. This is also fact that his predecessor Col Majid was the man triggering the clashes and supporting Taliban in the area in his unfortunate tenure. Now this gentleman who has no knowledge of tribal customs and the sensitivity in Kurram is implementing peace with the help of Omul Fasad Javid Ibrahim Paracha. This proves that this commandant belong to the same group in security forced having sympathy towards terrorist. They are hypocrites availing benefits from Government and working for terrorists. We strongly demand from Peoples President Asif Zardari to initiate enquiry against the current commander and his predecessor Col Majid and let the political system and JJirgas to fulfill their responsibilities.
    Farhar Taj efforts ate appreciable and hope international media will focus on Parachinar where the situation is worse than Ghazza. The issue of IDPs in Kurram is different than others parts. Those displaced from Parachinar are not unarmed civilians but armrd members of outlawed sectarian groups like SSP and LJ etc. Their commander is Mullah Eid Nazar who is part of Haqani Terrorist network in the area and trained in the camp under guidance of Abu Al Yazid who recently killed in drone attack. They later became part of Qari Hussain Mehsud group and involved Mehsud terrorists in Kurram conflict. They are still armed and part of terrorist attacks in different parts of country. The attacks on convoys leading to Parachinar and killing of Turis travelers on the road are the work of this group. Munir Orakzai the MNA from Kurram and FATA parliamentary group accepted this fact in television debate that the group is involved in the attacks on convoys. They were not permanent resident of Kurram the but were brought and accommodated on town committee properties to establish a base of terrorists and a transit camp for the purpose of shifting new recruits to Al Quida training camps in Afghanistan. If the government is really interested to bring peace, the ideal way is to differentiate between terrorists and real IDPs. Those who were evicted from Parachinar should be investigated to detect the members of Mullah Eid Nazar group. Some were not involved but were providing shelter and logistics to the group. This group of terrorists is hiding behind the sectarian part of the conflict and is availing sympathies of locals on sectarian ground. Turis will never allow them to re establish their base in Parachinar and will never forgive them because their hands are tinted with the blood of innocent travelers. Those who were not members of terrorists groups but were providing shelter to terrorists are equal responsible of the out come, do not deserve to re occupy the Parachinar town committee property. They can be easily accommodated in the constituency of Mr. Munir Orakzai or Javid Ibrahim Paracha.Recommend

  • Rehman F
    Jun 7, 2010 - 12:05AM

    Divide and Rule the Country; this idiom has been in vogue for a long time in these areas. Miss Taj ignores the foreign funding to these groups. These entities will keep fighting till death so let them do it as one has to prevail. Mass migrations from these lands will end the status quo and cleanse the long festering menaces and thereby bringing sanity.

    This madrassah business is the root cause of these rivalries probably as in its guise a lot is being accomplished by the feuding groups and others. Bomb them one by one and we got a tabula rasa to start afresh. The other safe alternate is a strong presence of Law and Order which is a utopia. In this scenario i am all for US drones intensity combined with strong ground attacks. Recommend

  • Jun 7, 2010 - 11:46AM

    Dear Farhat Taj
    The honorable president Asif Ali Zardari, the lone lion hearted person who stood like rock before pakistani powerful military establishment had issued the order for extention of political parties act in FATA on Aug.14 last year but yet that to be implemented. The reason is that military establishment opened the eyes to him saying beware of your limits as FATA would be used to be as a meadow where pakistani bureacracy could eat with both hands and also a place from where pakistan has to wage terrorism against Afghanistan and weak and poor international community.
    God help people of FATA and Pashtun nation as the Pakistani-Punjabi establishment is bent upon to bleed pashtun Afghan for its nefarious designs. The entire pakistan has turned against pashtun but who is there to raise its voice? One whose voice is heard he is beheaded by proxy terrorist taliban. We know but what can we do.
    Wish you best luck ms. Farhat Taj.
    Regards
    Zar ali khan musazai
    [email protected]Recommend

  • Ammar Zafarullah
    Jun 7, 2010 - 2:02PM

    We need to focus upon more important issues such as the rehabilitation of IDP’s and revising the infrastructure in FATA. The success of our military operation must not be wasted as we need to initiate a broad based development program which provides education, awareness and empowerment to the people of FATA. We need to reforms the local security apparatus so that the Taliban cannot return to these areas once the army leaves.Recommend

  • Zarin
    Jun 7, 2010 - 4:38PM

    The issue of Kurram is sensitive because of sectarian element involved.This is also true that those displaced from Parachinar were not unarmed civilian and Mulla Eid Nazar was the player in the game playing on others agenda, but still there were children women and elderly peoples from both sides either killed or displaced. Their problems must be addressed. I agree with Zar ali Masozai who say that pashtun is encircled by enemies. The outsiders like arabs uzbeks etc if they are really jehadis, they should go to Ghazza to fight Israeel not Pak army.Their own countries like uzbekistan need them more where prostitutes are exported with government protocole.Recommend

  • attaullah khan
    Jun 7, 2010 - 4:47PM

    at that time it is very important that we all accept truth about the kurram agency. the militant groups Haidry Talabian and Mehdi Malitia not only in parachinar but also in Hangu dist they distroyed the peace full life of both cities and they are trying to establish a mini Iran in kurram agency. In this massion they are a little bit success in the supervision of ALLAMA ABID HUSSIAN AL HUSSIANI EX SENATOR, today all the nibhouring countries like IRAN,AFGHANISTAN are totally involed on the hand of TURI ELDERS.It is very shamfull movments that TURI elders AWON ALI ,KAZIM HUSSIAN,SARDAR ALI MALIKHEL,ALI AKBER,for secterian lead they did a very follish job. they did terrarism under the shelter of sectarian violation.if some one want proof about haidri taliban we have a concreat proof in CD CASSETE.after the displacement of suni IDP,S Turi militant not only distroyed the social life and structure but they also distroyed the graveyard what they want from deadbodies. taliban in two major wars april 2007 nov2007 if any plz show to all viewers.we are very plz to farhat taj.Recommend

  • Amanullah Chamkani
    Jun 8, 2010 - 12:19AM

    Ataullah khan”s views are tinted with emotions and this is not the time of such blame game. Now I think the common enemy and hurdle in the way of peace is so called taliban who are gathered and working on Indian agenda to destabalize Pakistan. The whole sunni population is fed up and by any mean they want the eviction of taliban from the area. I think all tribes can live in peace if the government succeed to eradicate them. I belong to sunni belt and our position is clear from the statement of zar ali musazai. The number of sunnis killed or abducted for ransom is very much more than shias.
    There is need of dialouge in between the rivals and sincere efforts can remove misunderstanding and with the passage of time all displaced will be resetteled. Let hope for better and avoid blame game.Recommend

  • Shaheen Ur Rehman
    Jun 8, 2010 - 11:19AM

    I realy appreciate Miss Farhat Taj that She wrote on the ignoring sunni tribel disputed from parachinar.I agree with the views of Amanullah Chamkani from the sunni tribe but the question is that that wheter on the second side there is also such thinking of the people.The Comments of Chamkani and abid shah show the clear picture of the mind set of different sunni and shia tribe.AbidShah use such harsh and uncivilized words which is not good for the situation of kurram agency.such kind of extrimist thinking destroy the peace of kurram agency. I think no because Turi tribe is not ready to support the efforts of governament to restore the peace in kurram agency. one of my friend also wrote that these disputed people from kurram were actually giving food and shelter to the taliban which is baseless.This is just propaganda by specific group in kurram agency who want to make the kurram agency Mini Iran.I think still there are people who are giving not only food and shelter to the Terrorist groups in parachinar but also they are giving Man power and Weapons to these kinds of groups who are just playing on the policies of India , Afghanistan and Iran to Destabilize pakistan. Today if you enter to kurram agency so from the Chapari patak you will find Secuirity forces on each and every patak of the kurrm agency where there is sunni. But As you entered to the Balish khel patak you will see the Hizbullah , Mehdi Millitia.Without the permission of the terrorist groups no one can move in upper kurram even our political governament. Now the question is that who is funding these terrorist groups and who is giving the man power to these terrorist forces so the Answer is Iran , India and Turi Tribe. I really salute to Miss Farhat Taj who wrote on the poor disputed people of Kurram Agency. Here i will say that we want Peace , parachinar and this will be only happen when the turi tribe leave their support to these terrorist groups and set with sunni tribe in the table of dailoge.Recommend

  • Marjan Turi
    Jun 8, 2010 - 2:45PM

    As Amaullah chamkani wrote that this is not the time of blame game but some statement like that of Shahinur Rahman stimulate others to pickup pen to write. I will be thankfull if he can clarify the following.
    Is this was also a propaganda that in initial days of fighting in lower Kurram Fakhr-e-Alam Mehsud was leading all sunni tribes. He was killed and later Hakimullah Mehsud and Mufti Waiur Rahman were the leaders and all known tribal elders were even unable to open mouth.
    The is very much clear and it shown to media and government that the weapons from Sadda or around against turis was Iran made. It was weapon supplied to taliban in Afghanistan to use it against american but unfortunately it was used in Kurram. This is a proof that Iran symoathies were and are with taliban not turis. They tried to create a mini taliban state in Kurram under the leadership of Mufti Waliur Rahman.
    This is true that mind set is different but the situation create mind set. You see security forces in lower kurram but they were unable to pass a single convoy of food items or passengers but the cooperation of Turis with the Government specially the administration is recognized but the authorities. This is fact that in Turi area the center of power is with the tribe elders but in lower Kurram it is still in the hand of Taliban and the locals has no writ. Even the Government writ is zero in lower Kurram and in upper movement of Government authorities is free. I hope it will chang the mind set of people like Shahin and he will think like Iqbal’s Shahin.Recommend

  • ikhtiar afghani
    Jun 9, 2010 - 4:35PM

    A very good artical from farhat taj we all thakful to her on this mature argoments. iam the citizen of aryub jaji of afghanistan.in year 2007 we the jaji tribe set to peace agreement with turi tribe on the wish and request of turi tribewe invite them to aryub on the basement of brotherhood we receiced them with great respect on the basis of pakhtoon wali.all elders of turi tribe present in this combine meeting all the elders adress on peace matters and agreed for brtherhood that there enemy and friend is combine but in nov 2007 it is very shamfull to say that turi tribe broke there promises about agrement and they killed our jaji;s looted there houses and shops and burnt them or distroyed with bomb.turi not only killed but show them fire.turi is the one of barbarian tribe there militant groups are trained in iran all kind of weapon are supply to turi. pakistani govt are still sleeping no one there to justify this situation if the f.c comondant is trury faithfull then firts of all they solve the land and water dispute then crush the turi militant group then get a step for peace Recommend

  • Marjan Turi
    Jun 9, 2010 - 6:56PM

    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.Recommend

  • N. Hussain
    Jun 30, 2010 - 3:29PM

    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. Recommend

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