Agreement kindles hope of peace in Kurram
By Bakhtawar Mian
ISLAMABAD, Oct 16: A grand jirga of Kurram Agency has brokered a peace deal between warring sectarian groups in the region.
Under the agreement, the two sides agreed to exchange kidnapped people and reopen all roads in the area.
The agreement was signed after weeks of efforts made by the peace jirga comprising 50 representatives of each side.
Elders and Maliks of the two sects took part in the dialogue. Kurram Agency’s Political Agent Azam Khan represented the government and played the key role of mediator.
The talks were held in Islamabad and Murree and details of the agreement were announced at a press conference on Thursday.
The accord is expected to end the violence between Sunni Bangash and Shia Turi tribesmen that has plagued the agency bordering Afghanistan for one and a half years.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the clashes and the road to Parachinar has remained closed for several months, cutting off supplies to the agency’s main town.
People coming to Peshawar have been forced to travel via the Paktia province of Afghanistan.
The political agent said he was confident the accord would herald an era of peace in the agency because both the groups had agreed to cooperate with the administration for the purpose.
The agreement says that roads would be reopened to ensure supply of foodstuff, medicines and other essential items.
They also agreed to exchange bodies of people killed and tribesmen of the two sides kidnapped and captured and to allow the displaced people to return to their villages.
Both the groups have promised to provide protection to travellers. Bunkers would be vacated and handed over to the Frontier Corps.
A fine of Rs60 million will be imposed for any violation of the agreement. Any violation will be treated as a move against peace and violators will be dealt with accordingly.
The grand jirga will go to Kurram Agency on November 2 to ensure implementation of the agreement by both sides.
Another jirga will be held next month to resolve other contentious issues.
The tribal elders promised to cooperate with the government in maintaining peace.
They said the agency did not have the required strength of FC and the government would be asked to deploy more law-enforcement personnel.
The political agent proposed that the government should allocated funds as a peace dividend for development of the agency and to serve as an incentive for other agencies to strive for peace. (Dawn).
A BBC report suggests that the new agreement is silent about the presence of terrorists belonging to Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba, who are foreign to the area but now seem to be permanently settled in Saddah and other areas currently controlled by Talibans.