Nabi Jan Orakzai

In the tribal district of Kurram, a prolonged conflict has erupted in recent days between two opposing factions, primarily driven by a dispute over land ownership. Unfortunately, this conflict has taken on a sectarian nature, further exacerbating the tensions. The clashes have escalated in intensity, and despite concerted efforts from both the local administration and tribal jirga (council of elders), they have been unable to bring an end to the violent confrontations.

The district administration reports that the death toll from these clashes has surpassed nine, affecting individuals from both sides involved. Tragically, the warfare persists in various locations across the district. As a result, an atmosphere of apprehension pervades the entire district, leaving its inhabitants gripped by fear and distress.

Where and Between Whom Are the Clashes Taking Place in Kurram District?

In the Kurram district, ongoing clashes have been unfolding in several locations over the past few months. One conflict zone exists between Tari Mengal (Sunnis) and Pewar villages, along with other villages (Shias), in Upper Kurram.

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Additionally, a violent conflict is taking place between Boshehra (Ahl e Sunnat) and Dander villages, as well as other villages (Ahl e Shia). In Upper Kurram, clashes are also transpiring between Tari Ghozghari Muqbal, Khumsiya Chamkani (Ahl e Sunnah), and Karman, Kunj Alizai, and other villages (Ahl e Shia).

Similarly, Lower Kurram is witnessing clashes between Khar Kaly and other villages (Ahl e Sunnat) on one side and Balish Khel and other villages (Ahl e Shia) on the other side. As a consequence of these clashes, the loss of life has surpassed nine individuals from both factions.

According to reports, a few days ago, some individuals from Boshehra village attempted to impede the establishment of a new settlement in Dander village in Upper Kurram. Unfortunately, this localized dispute quickly escalated into a sectarian war, subsequently engulfing the entire Kurram district. The conflict has now escalated to the extent that heavy weaponry is being employed by both sides.

Dead and Injured People Brought to Different Hospitals

Amidst the ongoing clashes that have persisted for six days, numerous casualties have been admitted to various hospitals in Kurram. According to sources within the medical facilities, a total of 70 injured individuals and 7 deceased have been transported to these hospitals.

Dr. Tajer Hussain, the Medical Superintendent at DHQ Parachinar, reports that two fatalities and 39 injured individuals from different areas have received medical attention at the hospital. Unfortunately, one of the injured persons was in critical condition and was referred to Peshawar for advanced treatment, but tragically, he succumbed to his injuries.

Dr. Wajid Ali Shah, the Medical Superintendent at THQ Sada, shares that as a consequence of the ongoing conflict in Lower Kurram, Tehsil Hospital Sadda has received four deceased individuals, including a woman, as well as 14 injured individuals. Some of the injured individuals were in critical condition and were transferred to Peshawar for further treatment. Additionally, seven injured individuals were shifted to Dogar Hospital, and two of them were referred to Peshawar.

Considering the gravity of the situation, the local administration has taken the step of suspending internet services throughout the district. Furthermore, in light of security concerns, all private schools and colleges in the district have been temporarily closed. The main Tal Parachinar Road has also been closed.

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken notice of the tense situation prevailing in Kurram and issued a circular expressing their serious concern. They are actively evaluating the current state of affairs and have devised a comprehensive plan to address the underlying land disputes permanently. The finance department has initiated its efforts in this regard.

Additionally, a 30-member Jirga has been constituted by the government to help resolve the tensions in Kurram. The circular also emphasizes that strict legal action will be taken against individuals who exploit the current land disputes and fuel sectarian tensions. The government is closely monitoring social media platforms and has requested additional deployment of army and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel in the affected areas.

Efforts for a Ceasefire in Kurram Intensified

Assistant Commissioner Lower Kurram, Adnan, highlights that the local administration has been actively engaged in seeking a ceasefire since the inception of the clashes. Additionally, a 30-member Jirga has arrived in the district to facilitate the resolution of the conflict. Adnan informs that the Jirga, led by DC Kohat Ismat Wazir, held a comprehensive meeting with tribal leaders and elders in Lower Kurram’s Sadda region.

Subsequently, the Jirga proceeded to Parachinar, where they will engage with both sides involved and emphasize the importance of a ceasefire. Adnan emphasizes that the local population has welcomed the Jirga and fervently appeals for an end to the hostilities. He also mentions that the clashes have resulted in the loss of more than nine lives from both factions in Kurram.

Similarly, Assistant Commissioner Upper Kurram, Hafeez, informs TNN that a successful Jirga was conducted under the leadership of Federal Minister Sajid Hussain Tori in Parachinar, involving representatives from both sides. As a result, armed individuals in the tense areas of Upper Kurram have vacated certain fronts. Additionally, a Grand Jirga has arrived in Parachinar, and they are scheduled to hold an extensive meeting with the opposing faction. Hafeez expresses hope that these efforts will yield positive outcomes.

Under the directives of Commissioner Kohat Division, Muhammad Ali Shah, a 30-member Aman Jirga comprising Shias and Sunnis from Kohat District, Hangu District, and Orakzai District has arrived in Kurram District. Led by Deputy Commissioner Kohat, Dr. Azmatullah Wazir, this peace delegation from Kohat, along with local elders, aims to play a vital role in restoring peace and order in Kurram District. The Jirga immediately initiated their efforts to de-escalate tensions in Lower Kurram’s Sadda region upon their arrival.

Furthermore, prior to these initiatives, Deputy Commissioner Kurram, Saiful Islam, Federal Minister Sajid Hussain Turi, DPO Kurram, Muhammad Imran, and tribal leaders and elders had made attempts to facilitate a ceasefire in Boshehra and Dander. Unfortunately, these efforts did not yield the desired results.

What Do the People Trapped in the Tense Areas Say?

Muhammad Rauf from Boshehra in Upper Kurram, speaking to TNN, expresses that the situation in Boshehra has remained highly tense for the past five days, leaving the entire area besieged. There is a growing concern about the scarcity of food in the region. He reveals that Boshehra experiences nightly attacks from various areas, resulting in the loss of four lives from their village thus far.

Similarly, Farhad Ali, a resident of the Balish Khel area in Lower Kurram, shares that the ongoing tense situation in Kurram has caused severe hardships for both factions involved. People from Balish Khel and other villages have commenced migrating to safer locations, as fear permeates the area.

Over the past week, not a single food truck has arrived in Upper Kurram’s Parachinar, exacerbating the scarcity of essential supplies. Additionally, those injured in the conflict are struggling to receive adequate medical assistance. Farhad further laments that both sides unleash heavy weaponry as soon as darkness falls, intensifying the danger and unrest in the region.

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