Malik Shahzad Khan, a tribesman from North Waziristan, addresses a press conference in Peshawar on Monday. — Online
Malik Shahzad Khan, a tribesman from North Waziristan, addresses a press conference in Peshawar on Monday. — Online

PESHAWAR: The tribal elders of North Waziristan Agency have expressed serious reservations over the demolishing of Miranshah Bazaar and warned that they will not own the shops if those are reconstructed against their will.

They urged government to compensate the owners so that they could reconstruct the shops on their own to avoid possible land disputes in future. They said that it would deprive many tribesmen of their rights if government reconstructed the shops against their will.

Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Monday, the elders, led by Mohsin Dawar, said that at least 8,000 shops had been destroyed during operation Zarb-i-Azb.

Flanked by elders of Utmanzai tribe Malik Ashraf, Malik Shahzada Khan Wazir, Malik Naik Zali, Malik Darwin and Shaukat Aman, he said that government initiated reconstruction of the shops without taking tribal people into confidence.

Elders fear disputes among tribesmen over ownership of land

Mr Dawar, also chairman of National Youth Organisation, a sister organisation of ANP, said that tribal families were passing through a difficult time owing to lack of proper shelter and other basic facilities in their respective localities.

He said that terrorists shifted to other safer places before the launch of the military operation in the area and no resistance took place but despite that hundreds of houses and around 8,000 shops in Miranshah were razed to the ground.

Mr Dawar said that costly household items and stuff in their shops were also destroyed. The government had promised to compensate the affected people for their losses but it did not keep its commitment, he added.

He said that no policy was chalked out in that connection rather the lands of tribal people were being occupied upon which shops under new map were being reconstructed. He feared that government’s reconstruction policy would deprive tribal people of their properties.

The tribal elder said that owners would not take possession of the markets if those were constructed against their will. The way of construction of shops would lead to infighting among the tribal people over ownership of land.

Speaking on the occasion, Malik Shahzada Khan Wazir said that government should compensate the affected people and stop construction of destroyed shops in Miranshah.

Malik Ashraf said on the occasion that construction of new shops was illegal as the owners of respective lands weren’t taken into confidence regarding it.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2016