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WANA: A faction of the Taliban has apparently made a comeback to Wana, South Waziristan Agency, under the guise of a peace committee and placed a ban on cultural and social activities and put restrictions on movement of women outside their homes without male members of their family.

The so-called peace committee has issued tough guidelines through pamphlets in Wana town and warned local people to abide by these rules otherwise violators would face repercussions, according to sources.

The committee has banned music, athan, a traditional dance which is performed in wedding ceremonies or other festive occasions, and use of narcotics.

According to the committee’s guidelines, those activities which promote immorality or violate Islamic teachings would not be permitted on these occasions.

Guidelines issued through pamphlets ban cultural and social activities and restrict women’s movement

Movement of women outside their homes has been restricted. The pamphlets said that women would not be allowed to visit market and clinic or faith healers without adult male members of their family, including husbands and brothers.

Salahuddin alias Ayubi, a successor of Mullah Muhammad Nazir — an influential Taliban leader — heads the committee.

Mullah Nazir was killed along with his 10 associates in a US drone strike in the Birmil area of South Wazi­ristan Agency in January 2013.

South Waziristan Agency became a hotbed of Talibanisation in 2003 that spilled over to other tribal agencies of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Local leaders of various Taliban factions had established parallel administration in the area.

Nek Muhammad emerged as the leader of these factions. Security forces carried out multiple operations in the area to crush Taliban and establish the writ of the state. Finally Nek Muhammad signed a peace deal with the government in Shakai. He was killed in a missile attack in 2004.

According to the pamphlets, residents are not allowed to stay outside their homes at public places after 10pm. This step would prevent disturbance and noise in the area, it said.

A leaflet issued by the peace committee claimed that elders and Ulema of Karikot, Ghwa Khwa, Sha­heen Warsak, Doog, Dabb Koat, Zari Noor and Sherna had agreed to these steps.

A committee comprising elders and Ulema has been set up to ensure implementation of the ‘code of conduct’ and to identify violators of the guidelines. A local cleric, identified as Ameer Ainullah, has been appointed head of the committee.

The secretary of Fata’s law and order, Hassan Mehmood Yousafzai, when approached in Peshawar, expressed ignorance about the activities of the peace committee in Wana. “I do not have such reports. The political agent is in a better position to talk about the matter,” he said.

Political Agent Zafar Islam and other officials of the administration were not available to comment on the matter.

Fresh displacement

Meanwhile, the Fata Disaster Management Authority has confirmed fresh displacement of civilians from Shaktoi area of South Waziristan Agency.

The displacement took place when the authorities are planning to send all internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their homes in Fata. Around 17,000 displaced families mostly belonging to North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Khyber agencies are waiting for their return.

An official of the authority told Dawn in Peshawar that 208 families had been displaced from Shaktoi area that belonged to Mehsud tribe. He said that these families were evacuated when security forces launched operation in the area adjacent to North Waziristan Agency.

The official said that displaced families had been settled at Bakakhel Camp in Frontier Region Bannu where all basic facilities, including cooked food were being provided. The army has been managing the camp which was established for IDPs of North Waziristan Agency after the launching of Zarb-i-Azb military operation in June, 2014.

“Newly displaced families would be returned to their homes very soon,” said the official, but declined to give a specific date for their return.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017