PESHAWAR/LANDI KOTAL, Aug 30: The tribal elders have urged the government to negotiate a truce with Taliban, fighting against security forces in the border areas of Bajaur Agency, and provide food and shelter to the people affected by the clashes.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl general secretary in Bajaur Agency Abdul Rashid said that violence escalated in the region after clashes broke out between security forces and Taliban near Afghan border in Salarazai area.

Flanked by JUI-F activists and tribal elders, he said that Taliban had attacked security checkposts on August 24 to which forces retaliated and exchanged fire with the attackers.

Mr Rashid said that all kinds of weapons including missiles, rockets and helicopter gunships were being used in the clashes. He said that innocent people were being killed and their houses destroyed in the clashes.

The JUI-F leader claimed that about 12 innocent tribal people were killed and 100 others trapped in the conflict zone. Similarly, he said, thousands of people fled the area. He said that a large number of people had left their homes to take shelter at safer places. However, government failed to cater to the needs of conflict-hit people at their makeshift shelters in settled areas, he added.

The former lawmaker demanded of the government to make arrangements for displaced people of Salarzai area. He also demanded immediate ceasefire in border areas of Bajaur to save the trapped tribal people.

“Use of force is not solution to the issue. There is need of using peaceful means for settlement of the all issues in Fata,” Mr Rashid said.

Meanwhile, the leader of Fata joint parliamentary group, Hamidullah Jan Afridi, has called for convening of an All-Fata Peace Jirga to prevent further bloodshed in the tribal areas.

In a statement issued on Thursday, he condemned drone attacks and indiscriminate artillery shelling on private houses and said that situation in tribal areas would further deteriorate if the attacks were not stopped forthwith.

Mr Afridi said that only a true representative jirga of reputed tribal elders could bring lasting peace in Fata if they were given a chance and supported by the government.

He urged the government to foil conspiracies of those, who were sabotaging all honest and sincere efforts for a lasting peace in tribal areas at the behest of their foreign masters.

“It is time that we shun all our internal differences and work for getting all human rights for the oppressed people of Fata alongside protecting their lives and properties,” Mr Afridi said.

He said that developmental activities were at a standstill, educational institutions were either closed or destroyed and private houses were targeted with drones and mortar shells. He warned that targeting of innocent people would force them to rebel.

The Fata lawmaker said that most of the innocent people, who suffered human and financial loses during the military operations, were not compensated properly.

Mr Afridi urged government to immediately convene a representative jirga of all tribes so that the issue of Fata could be resolved through peaceful means.

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