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Tension Rises Between Bajaur and Mohmand Over Fatal Accident

A representative Jirga was established under the chairmanship of former MNA Khyber Alhaj Shah Ji Gul Afridi to resolve these disputes, but no decision has been made in the past three years, leaving the people caught in ongoing tensions.
by Muhammad Bilal Yasir - 21 May, 2024 667
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In the month of Ramadan, a tragic accident between a bus and a motor car in Mohmand district resulted in the deaths of five people from the area. In response to perceived injustice following the incident, leaders from the Mohmand district forcibly seized a bus and three motor cars on May 19. This action led the transport union of Bajaur district to retaliate by capturing 26 coaches and holding them in Bajaur.

The communities of Bajaur and Mohmand have a long-standing relationship, sharing a significant border. However, administrative issues have led to conflicts between the two districts. 

A representative Jirga was established under the chairmanship of former MNA Khyber Alhaj Shah Ji Gul Afridi to resolve these disputes, but no decision has been made in the past three years, leaving the people caught in ongoing tensions.

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Many residents of Bajaur travel through Mohmand to reach Peshawar and other districts. Both private and commercial vehicles, including hundreds of motor cars and dozens of buses, traverse this route daily. The poor road conditions and high speeds often result in accidents. When fatalities occur, the transporter union holds a Jirga to seek resolution, sometimes leading to forgiveness from the victims' families, while other times causing further conflict.

Incident Details

On February 18, an early morning collision between a Yutong bus from Bajaur and a motor car in Mohmand district's Musa Khel resulted in the deaths of five people, including a woman. Another person was severely injured and remains unconscious in Peshawar Hospital. The victims included a married couple, leaving 34 children orphaned.

Rising Tensions

A Jirga member from Bajaur, speaking anonymously, reported that the Jirga has been in session since the day of the incident, with multiple rounds of discussions. Tensions escalated when Mohmand Jirga members insisted that compensation decisions for the victims should be made solely by Mohmand representatives. In contrast, Bajaur members argued that both districts' Jirga members should determine the compensation and that the vehicle owner should bear the responsibility.

Victims' Family Perspective

Hazrat Bilal, representing the victims, expressed frustration over the lack of justice. He recounted how the bus driver was released by the police, leaving the victims without recourse. Despite the severe impact of the incident, including the loss of six lives and 34 orphaned children, Bajaur representatives have not addressed the issue. As a form of protest, the victims' families have seized Bajaur vehicles, demanding justice and vowing to continue their protest until their demands are met.

Administrative Role

Both districts' residents criticize the district administrations for their handling of the situation. Following strong public reactions on social media, Deputy Commissioner Bajaur Muhammad Anwar-ul-Haq instructed Bajaur Jirga members, led by Assistant Commissioner Khar Mohibullah Khan, to visit Mohmand district. The Jirga included Haji Syed Badshah, Dr. Khalil-ur-Rehman, and Transport Union representatives. From Mohmand, Assistant Commissioners, the District Nazim, DSP Mohmand, and tribal leaders participated. Despite extensive discussions, the Jirga decided that Nazims from both districts should take authority from their respective parties and release the vehicles. However, this has not yet been implemented.

Public Demands

Residents demand that both district administrations work together with local leaders to find an effective and lasting solution. They argue that the ongoing vehicle seizures and disputes could lead to a major incident. Instead of halting transportation after accidents, authorities should follow established rules and regulations. The rights of the victims' families should be prioritized, and their wishes should guide the resolution process to prevent further violence and ensure justice.