The political agent (PA) of Khyber Agency has decided to reopen roads leading to Bara and lift the curfew in some areas after nearly four years of restrictions.
Addressing a news conference at the Khyber House on Friday, Political Agent Mutahir Zeb said curfew on roads leading to the troubled Bara tehsil would be lifted today (Saturday) and residents would be allowed to travel to and fro. “This will be a test for the tribesmen,” he said, adding they would open the entire route along with other roads in the tehsil if peace prevails.
The curfew was imposed in the area in September 2009 after which security forces launched operations against militants. The ban was later prolonged and many locals were displaced in the ensuing battles between militants and security forces. Businesses were also shut down and those driven out of their homes sought shelter at Jalozai Camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Zeb said the tehsil has been finally declared safe by security forces after nearly four years. Initially, Al-Haaj Road, Alam Gudar, Dora Road, Daroro Adda, Frontier Road, Bara Road, Old Jamrud Road and Dogra Road will be opened. In the beginning, the roads would be opened for traffic from 8am till noon and from 2pm till 6pm. Later, they would remain open throughout the day.
Zeb said the curfew in Bara Bazaar would also be lifted after some time. “We cannot open the bazaar at the moment due to security concerns.”
The political agent said Frontier Corps (FC) officials along with khasadars would be deployed along the routes and passengers and vehicles would be stopped for checking at all check posts. No one will be allowed to carry weapons, he added.
Zeb said if the tribesmen cooperate, the political administration would soon open the Bara Bazaar as well. He maintained they will also chalk out a plan for the repatriation of IDPs from Tirah after Ramazan.
Concluding the press briefing, Additional Political Agent Attaur Rehman along with Assistant Political Agent Nasir Khan promised they will walk alongside journalists and tribesmen on the road to Bara today (Saturday).
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.