GHALLANI: In what is seen as an effort to re-establish its writ, the government is calling an end to peace militias along the Pak-Afghan border area of Mohmand Agency. Instead in a first, it will be deploying at least 200 levies and khasadar officers in Baizai subdivision, an important border area.
A Grand Jirga of Khawazai and Baizai tribes was held on Tuesday at the newly-established Baizai subdivisional headquarters. Political Agent (PA) Waqar Ali Khan addressed the jirga, which was also attended by high-ranking military officials stationed in the area as well as senior administration officials.
He announced the official end of local peace committees in Mohmand. “Even though peace has been restored to the area, many IDPs are showing reluctance in returning home,” said the PA. “This shows they have some fears; this is why the political administration will be deploying for the first time 215 levies soldiers at all strategic points of the subdivision.”
Bring back the jirga
When no one was ready to counter militants, peace militias came and filled the vacuum caused by the lack of government writ in the area, said Waqar Ali. “Now that writ has been restored, there is no need for local militias who did act as a parallel force.”
The PA also asked locals to come forward and help the administration revive the culture of the tribal jirga, essential to restoring peace.
After the Grand Jirga, peace committee leader Malik Sultan Khan told The Express Tribune his militia rendered numerous sacrifices for the restoration of peace. Sultan’s peace committee lost 35 men and saw at least 85 injured during the past few years, fighting militancy. Sultan welcomed the government’s move to deploy levies and said he would cooperate in this regard.
Another peace committee leader, Malik Sanobar Khan, termed it a historic move and said the deployment levies instead of peace militias was a “big breakthrough”.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2015.
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