Some of the tribal elders and lashkar leaders killed by the Taliban insurgents were decorated with civilian awards announced on the eve of Independence Day earlier this week.
The tribal leaders include Chief of Salarzai Qaumi Lashkar Malik Munasib Khan, three elders from Mohmand including Malik Saleem Khan, Malik Fazl Manan and Malik Kachkol, chief of Utmanzi and Ahmedzai Wazir the late Malik Faridullah Khan from North and South Waziristan Agencies and a Levies official Dilshad Begum from Kurram.
These elders have been conferred with Tamgha-e-Shujaat (Gallantry) for their contribution to the fight against militancy. This is perhaps for the first time that the government has taken a step to acknowledge the contribution of tribal lashkars and elders in the fight against militancy.
Meanwhile, a senior anti-Taliban militia leader and his son were killed in an insurgents’ attack in the Bajaur tribal region on Wednesday.
Over a dozen Taliban militants crossed over from the neighbouring Afghanistan and attacked a checkpoint manned by anti-Taliban militiamen from the Chamarkand Peace Committee. As a result, the militia leader Malik Afsar Khan and his son Sher Alam Khan were killed.
Sources said the checkpoint is situated in the Nawa Pass area in Chamarkand tehsil, close to the Pak-Afghan border.
Political authorities said Malik Afsar Khan was a prominent tribal elder who helped the security forces weed out militancy and played a crucial role in raising the Chamarkand Peace Committee to fight off the Taliban in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.