MIRANSHAH: A man was publicly executed before a crowd of hundreds in the North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday, after a Taliban court found him guilty of double murder, witnesses and officials said.
According to officials, up to 700 people watched the Taliban publicly execute Waheed Khan, 25, in a football ground in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan, BBC reported.
The role of the executioner fell on a cousin of two brothers Khan was found guilty of killing.
“Waheed Khan was picked up three weeks ago by Taliban and found guilty of cold-blooded murder by a Taliban court. The accused gave no reason for killing the two men,” said a militant, who asked not to be named.
“We asked the relatives of the deceased men to forgive, but they refused and under Islamic law it was decided that the convict be shot by them,” he added.
Witnesses said the executioner was given a Kalashnikov rifle with six bullets in it, which he fired at a handcuffed and blindfolded Khan who was forced to sit on the ground.
Local administration and intelligence officials confirmed the execution but refused to comment. BBC reports that according to a government official the body of the dead man was found near the town, along with a letter that named him and said he had been executed on the orders of a Taliban council for killing two brothers, Noor Zeb and Alam Zeb.
The execution underscores the strong Taliban influence in North Waziristan.
Dr Altafullah Khan, an academic with extensive knowledge of tribal areas, affirmed that such public displays of prosecution are not a tradition by any means. He said militants have become a part of the structure, and are in control.
He added that people are afraid and are forced to attend such gatherings.
“It’s the same as some political processions in Punjab and Sindh – people are put in trolleys and trucks, and forced to attend them,” he told The Express Tribune.
Psychiatrist Dr Musarrat Hussain told The Express Tribune that mass gatherings at such events can be explained as a matter, for the audience, to assure themselves that they are not the victims, “as well as to overcome their own fear and culturally adapt”. He said such acts of public display breeds culture of violence, and is a continuation of a primitive way of living.
The incident occurred only a month after militants publically cut off the hands of three alleged thieves in the Taliban-controlled region of Orakzai.
“A Taliban court ordered the cutting off of the right hands of three local tribesmen in Orakzai tribal region after finding them guilty of theft,” a police official had informed.
Although the Pakistan Army has waged multiple offensives against the militants in the tribal belt, troops have so far refrained from launching an all-out assault in North Waziristan.
(AGENCIES with additional input from Shayan Naveed)
Published in the Express Tribune, June 9th, 2010.
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