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Separate ways: Eid in North Waziristan

Updated August 09, 2013

THEY have their own army, their own courts and their own administration. And it seems their own Eid too. Perhaps it is time to recognise the ‘secession’ of the ‘Islamic Emirate of North Waziristan’ from all things Pakistan. If that seems like a facetious idea, consider the alternative: perhaps all things Pakistan should be handed over to the Islamic Emirate of North Waziristan to run the affairs of the state and society more efficiently? After all, 25 wise men debated for hours on Wednesday and after the scrutiny of the available evidence decided that Eid this year was best celebra-ted yesterday. The efficiency and clarity of the council of elders is something that those in charge of Pakistan proper can only aspire to. There is also the happy coincidence of Eid in the Islamic Emirate of North Waziristan being celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia: where once the tribal areas looked towards Kabul for guidance in matters of high import, now the direction has been corrected.

Of course, the state of affairs in North Waziristan are deadly serious and, in the larger scheme of things, an out-of-sync Eid in the Agency is a small matter. (Mohmand and parts of Khyber agencies also celebrated Eid yesterday.) At least, as far as a synchronised, nationally celebrated Eid goes, this year the clerical and political rivalries that in recent years gave KP an early Eid were handled more sensibly. But spare a thought for the people of North Waziristan, and the people of wider Pakistan, who have to suffer violence thanks to the de facto takeover of the Agency by militant forces. Perhaps Eid is the right occasion for what would otherwise be a forlorn wish: may North Waziristan be recovered from the clutches of the forces it has found itself in.