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LANDI KOTAL: The family members of martyred Khasadar and Levies personnel staged a protest sit-in at the historic Bab-i-Khyber in Jamrud on Monday against suspension of official assistance to them.

Holding photos of their slain relatives and banners inscribed with slogans in support of their demands, the protesters included some schoolchildren, who had lost their fathers in different incidents of terrorism in Jamrud on various occasions.

A total of 72 Levies and Khasaddar personnel lost their lives in different incidents of terrorism in Jamrud, Landi Kotal and Bara tehsils of Khyber region.

Adil Khan, a 25-year-old man whose father Shahid Khan was killed in a suicide attack on a mosque near Bhagiyarri checkpost few years ago told this scribe on the occasion that the local administration suspended their monthly stipend along with assistance in terms of free medical treatment of family members of the martyred Khasadar and Levies personnel.

A student of University of Peshawar, he said that he, his widow mother and two unmarried sisters were relying on the monthly stipend of Rs10,000 they were getting from the political administration.

“I will now look for a part time job or will have to leave education halfway as we have no other sources of income,” said Mr Khan. He said that government also failed to fulfil its promise of recruiting scions of the martyred security personnel in the Khyber Levies Force.

Fourteen-year-old Sanan Afridi, a 6th grader, said that he too lost his father in a militant attack on security forces in Jamrud few years ago.

He said that his elder brother was jobless and he too would find it difficult to continue his studies. He said that his family monthly stipend should be doubled along with provision of free medical facility to his family members, including his mother and two sisters.

The protesters continued their peaceful demonstration for nearly two hours and later dispersed after an assurance by the local elders and former MNA Haji Shahji Gul about apprising the officials concerned about their grievances.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2018