Once part of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Qari Wajid crossed over to the other side to join a peace militia only to later be arrested by overzealous policemen and branded a ‘top militant commander.’
Wajid, an ardent supporter and activist of the Adezai Peace Lashkar, was arrested by the Badabher Police on March 28. The militia, which has often been targeted by the TTP, has been combating the Taliban on the outskirts of Peshawar.
“Wajid is neither a militant nor a commander. The police have charged him in several cases from encounters to bomb blasts and attacks on police stations,” Dilawar Khan, chief of the Adezai Peace Lashkar, told The Express Tribune.
Wajid, he said, was a volunteer for the militia and was arrested from Kohat Road in the suburban area of Zangali.
“He was carrying a pistol so the police later claimed that they had arrested a commander of the militant group. It was nothing more than a stunt to show off their ‘efficiency’ to their superiors,” Dilawar claimed.
However, he confirmed that Wajid had, in fact, been a militant in the past. “The boy was once a part of the Taliban but in those days the police also had a friendly relationship with the local militant group.”
Wajid is not the only member of the lashkar who has a Taliban past. Many members of the Adezai group chose to renounce the TTP when the police offered general amnesty for those who surrendered themselves and took an oath upon the Holy Quran that they would permanently give up militancy.
Dilawar added that Wajid had taken oath at a local police station and had been serving the lashkar for two years. “He was a teenager at the time of his association with the Taliban. His views were immature. But he soon realised that he was a misfit, so he parted ways and took the oath.”
He said that Wajid had gone to Dubai and had returned recently when he was arrested.
“The arrest means that the police do not honour the amnesty, which has been availed by so many young men in the village and surrounding areas,” Dilawar stated. “When you corner these youngsters who want to live a peaceful life and have their entire lifetime ahead of them, you are no different from these militants.”
Wajid’s family also refuted allegations leveled by the police against him. “Wajid has nothing to do with attacks on police stations. But they have charged him in militancy cases, which means his life is ruined,” a relative told The Express Tribune. “It means that all those who took an oath at police stations and became peaceful citizens made a fatal mistake, because the police do not honour their oath.”
However, police officials unwillingly commented on the matter, saying that a police case was registered against him three years ago and he was a proclaimed offender.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.
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