PESHAWAR: Paramilitary forces are likely to mount another major operation against militants in Bara subdivision of the Khyber Agency following fresh fighting in the region killed around a dozen troops in the last couple of days.
Sources told The Express Tribune reinforcements, including tanks, armoured vehicles and heavy machineguns have been sent to paramilitary camps in Bara. Fresh paramilitary troops have also been sent to the camps in anticipation of an operation.
A security official confirmed that an operation was imminent. “Yes, an operation is likely to be carried out against militants in Bara tehsil,” said the official who did not want to be named. He said that people from certain parts of Bara have been asked to evacuate their homes.
Political authorities have asked residents in Malikdin Nala, Kohi Chowk, Yousaf Talab, Munday Kas and Jhansi to shift to safer areas before 3pm on Saturday. Residents said that fear has gripped these areas following the announcement of the deadline and around 1,000 have shifted to different areas on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Assistant Political Agent (APA) Bara Rehan Gul Khattak, however, declined to comment.
In June 2008, security forces launched Operation Sirat Mustaqeem (Righteous Path) in Bara tehsil for the first time, following the kidnapping of 14 Christians from Academy Town, Peshawar. A second operation codenamed Daraghlam (here I come) was launched in December 2008, followed by Bia Daraghlam (Here I come again). The last operation Khawkh Ba de Sham (will teach you a lesson) was conducted in November 2009, and Bara Bazaar has been under curfew since.
IDPs from Bara arrive at Jalozai camp
Political Agent Mutahir Zeb has directed Political Tehsildar Ghulam Farooq to arrange for vehicles to shift the migrating tribesmen to Jalozai camp and other safer areas. Malik Malakhel, a Bara tribesman living in the Jalozai camp, told The Express Tribune that since the past two days about 250 families from Bara have arrived in the camp. He added that there were not sufficient facilities for the new IDPs.
Malakhel further said that dozens of people have also been staying with relatives in Badabher, Naway Killay, Pishtakhara and other areas of Peshawar.
He said that he was sharing his tent in Jalozai camp with two other families who have arrived from Bara recently.
Lal Marjan, a tribesman from the Nala area of Malik Din Khel clan of Bara told The Express Tribune that he, along with eight other members of his family, managed to reach Jalozai Camp on Friday.
Marjan said that they left their homes due to the ongoing situation in the region, where firing has become daily routine. They are confined to their homes and their children are scared, he added.
A Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) spokesperson told The Express Tribune that about 100 families have arrived in the Jalozai Camp. The PDMA was pitching tents and making ration arrangements for the IDPs, while the World Food Program has also been asked to provide rations, the official said.
He said that they were expecting displaced persons to arrive in Jalozai on Friday night, but added that the number may not exceed 1,000 families, and their stay is also expected to be short.
Talks with armed militants ruled out
Meanwhile, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar said that dialogue is possible only with those who lay down their arms, reported Express 24/7. He was speaking to the media at the funeral of Captain Abdul Qadir and Constable Qasim, who were killed during clashes in Bara on Thursday.
The governor ruled out talks with militants who do not have any intention to lay down their arms and are engaged in disrupting peace. (With additional reporting by Amirzada Afridi in Jamrud, Khyber Agency)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2011.