DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Elders of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe of South Waziristan Agency have demanded that the government open the Angoor Adda border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan to facilitate the movement of common people in the area.

A jirga of elders and ulema held in Wana discussed the continuing closure of the Angoor Adda crossing point, search operation in the area and registration of non-custom paid vehicles.

The elders said that the federal government on the directives of the prime minister opened all border crossing points with Afghanistan but the Angoor Adda crossing point remained closed which caused great hardship to the people of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe who lived on both sides of the border.

They said that the Angoor Adda checkpoint usually remained closed due to tension between the two countries that interrupted movement of members of the local tribes.

The Pakistan government had handed over a long stretch of the border at Angoor Adda to Afghanistan voluntarily. The territory comprising around 40 villages of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe also became part of Afghanistan after the handing over of the border area to Kabul.

The jirga expressed serious concern over unwarranted raids of security forces on houses in Wana and other parts of South Waziristan Agency.

The elders said that security forces were breaching customs and traditions of the local tribes by conducting raids without taking the elders into confidence.

They demanded that the administration and commanders of security forces take elders on board before conducting raids and search operations on houses.

The tradition of purdah was badly breached by the personnel while conducting search operations in the area, they added.

The participants also discussed the issue of non-custom paid vehicles and said that the tribesmen of South Waziristan faced many difficulties in using such vehicles in the agency.

They said that using NCP vehicles was allowed in tribal agencies and in Malakand Division, but the administration and security forces subjected the South Waziristan people to discrimination moving in the NCP vehicles.

The Ahmadzai Wazir elders said that they would observe a wheel-jam strike in their area if the demands were not met by March 30.

Shepherd injured

A young shepherd was injured when he stepped on a mine while his cattle were grazing in the Kotkai Nazarkhel area of Sararogha tehsil of South Waziristan on Saturday.

The injured boy identified as Kabeerullah, 16, was taken to the district headquarters hospital in Dera Ismail Khan for treatment.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2017