Day 15: Protesters keep up demand for return of imam, elders

Sit-ins continue across four areas of Kurram Agency.

Our Correspondent August 12, 2014

PARACHINAR: Tribesmen of Kurram Agency continue to demand Allama Muhammad Nawaz Irfani be allowed to resume his role at Markazi Jamia Masjid and asked for the return of their elders who were arrested earlier.

Tuesday marked day 15 of their protests. Sit-ins are taking place in four areas of the agency. A jirga of elders from Kohat was also held to expedite efforts to resolve the contentious issue.

Allama Irfani was expelled some seven months ago under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) for alleged hate speech. Roughly around the same time, some 60 tribal elders were arrested, also under the FCR, for supporting Irfani. Their privileges as elders were then revoked.

The protests, which started on Eidul Fitr, revolve around the demand that Irfani be allowed to remain in the agency, perks afforded to the Turi tribesmen be reinstated and the arrested elders released. According to local sources, the protests are continuing at Shaheed Park, School Road, Nazar Bandi Chowk and Punjabi Bazaar where tribesmen, women and children are making similar demands, including the removal of a ban on Irfani’s movements in Kurram.

Led by Saeed Ibn-e-Ali, the jirga held on Tuesday examined ways in which the tribesmen and government’s impasse could be resolved. Members expressed hope that the issue would be resolved soon.

Meanwhile, seven security officials were injured when a security forces vehicle overturned in Charkhel village on Tuesday.

An official of Kurram’s poltical administration said the driver lost control of the vehicle which was en route to Thal from Sadda. The injured were rushed to Combined Military Hospital, Thal.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th,2014.