Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kurram Tribes Agree to Ceasefire

The tribes have agreed to cease fire along with a number of other provisions. A comprehensive peace accord addressing the remaining issues is planned for the Oct 6 meeting. See my comments on the peace talks here.

Warring Kurram tribes agree to ceasefire
By Inamullah Khattak, Dawn, September 28, 2008

RAWALPINDI: A peace Jirga of tribal elders, representing the warring groups of Kurram Agency, agreed on Saturday to stop fighting till December 31.

The tribal leaders vowed to cooperate with the government in the restoration of peace in the sectarian-violence hit troubled region.

The elders of the tribesmen that met for the fourth consecutive day here also decided to meet again on October 6 for a ‘grand jirga’ to help resolve unsettled matters.

The 100-member Jirga comprising 50 members each from the 12 tribes of both Shia and Sunni sects also included parliamentarians from both groups, including elected representatives of the Kurram Agency, MNAs Munir Khan Orakzai, Sajid Hussian Turi, Senator Eng. Rasheed Khan, former Senator Sajjad Syed and other notables of the Kurram Agency.

The jirga was held under the supervision of Political Agent Kurram Mohammad Azam Khan and Assistant Political Agent Lower Kurram Ayyaz Khan Mandokhel

The four-point ‘peace agreement’ says

“(1) Ceasefire in Kurram Agency would continue till December 31, 2008 and if incident of fire happened in any area, the tribes of the concerned region would themselves hand over the involved persons to the local administration under the responsibility of territorial jurisdiction. The concerned tribe would fully cooperate with the government and the administration would take stern action against the violators of the peace agreement.

2. A grand jirga to be nominated later for which the jirga members authorised the Political Agent, would be called on October 06, 2008 to resolve the controversial issues between Shia and Sunni tribes in presence of the political agent.

3. Both Shia and Sunni tribes would exchange the dead bodies or those kidnapped during the period of conflict.

4. Both the tribes would try to supply edibles, medicines and other things of daily necessities to the concerned affected areas to resolve problems being faced by the local people particularly women and children."

To a question, the political agent said: “I will suggest the government to conduct an intelligent operation in order to stop foreign intervention in Kurram Agency and expel the foreign elements”.

He said the Jirga had agreed to stop foreign intervention in the region.

Violence erupted in Kurram Agnecy on April 6 last year, killing over 2,000 people and leaving hundreds of people displaced.

Kurram Agency tribesmen welcome peace accord
DailyTimes, September 28, 2008

* Acute shortage of medicines, food, diesel and petrol in agency

PESHAWAR: Kurram Agency tribesmen on Saturday welcomed peace agreement between Jirga members of Turi and Mengal tribes, who agreed on a ceasefire in the agency.

The peace negotiators met in Islamabad recently and agreed to hold ceasefire between the warring Turi and Mengal tribes.

The Jirga members agreed to end violence in Kurram Agency and vowed to fight the hidden hands erupting clashes in the area, a Jirga member said, adding that both tribes agreed to continue with the process of negotiations until complete peace was restored in the agency.

The residents of Kurram Agency, currently residing in Peshawar, have expressed satisfaction over the Jirga’s decision and termed it an important development towards restoration of peace in the agency. They hoped that now peace would soon be returned to the agency.

Haji Yousaf said the local people of the agency were fed up with the ongoing militancy in the agency. “The tribesmen of the agency are facing extreme problems due to closure of the main Thall-Parachinar Road,” he added.

Raza Khan said it was a good development in the right direction, which would bring peace to the area. He urged the government to pay attention towards maintaining durable peace in the area. “I would now have chance to go to my village after one year,” he said.

Ali Mehdi, another resident of the agency, said restoration of peace was must for development of the agency, which had suffered a lot in the ongoing unrest for about one year.

Shortage of medicines: Mehboob Ali Paracha said there were acute shortage of medicines, essential goods, diesel and petrol in the area. He hoped that with the restoration of peace these items would be supplied to the agency.

An official of the political administration said it was a good sign that rival Turi and Mengal tribes had agreed to restore peace in the restive agency.

Violence in Parachinar had erupted in November last year and so far hundreds of people had been killed and thousands displaced from the agency.

The entire Kurram Agency is without electricity for the last two months resulting in acute shortage of drinking water in the agency.

Iqbal Hussain Turi, a Jirga member, said that both groups agreed that there was no Sunni-Shia tension in Kurram Agency but a third hand was involved in disturbing peace of the agency. “We will foil all conspiracies against our tribal people,” he added.

The 100-member peace Jirga comprised 50 members each from the Turi and Mengal tribes, Kurram Agency’s Political Agent Azam Khan and Lower Kurram Assistant Political Agent Ayaz Khan Mandokhel. app

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