Dir jirga rejects military op, forced displacement

Our Correspondent June 26, 2024


Alarmed by recent deadly clashes between security forces and intruding militants from Afghanistan, the local political leadership of all spectrums, in a unanimous decision, not only rejected the military operation but also vowed to resist any drive to force residents to leave the town.

The developments came a couple of days after the militants allegedly attacked the troops, resulting in fierce clashes in which there were also reports of casualties on both sides. However, such reports were not confirmed either by the district administration or Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The decision not to back a military operation was made at a grand jirga of elders, local politicians and intellectuals convened by the Dir Qaumi Pasoon (DQP), a citizen body working for peace and development in the area. The DQP had also held a peace walk in Timergara on Monday in which hundreds of civil society members, lawyers, political activists, elders and young people had participated.

Addressing the jirga, DQP chief Malik Jehan Alam said efforts would be made to keep the region safe and peaceful. He said local residents could no longer tolerate militancy and mass displacement of people in the area.

The DQP chief further said local politicians, elders, lawyers and youth had been engaged to play an active role in maintaining durable peace in the district, adding that, under a planned conspiracy, efforts were being made to again trigger a war in the Pakhtun belt.

The jirga questioned the modus operandi of the security forces and wondered as to how militants could intrude into the territory despite a fenced border and then withdraw unchecked to their stronghold after completing their mission.

The Maidan tehsil of Lower Dir had been a stronghold of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in 2008-09, a period when it had torched hundreds of schools in the region.


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