LANDI KOTAL: Security forces on Wednesday released six Pasedkhel tribesmen after holding talks with a jirga of local elders while giving an assurance that the remaining two persons would be also freed after completion of necessary investigations.
The jirga headed by Malak Darya Khan Zakhakhel held detailed discussions with the officials of security and district administration in Landi Kotal to secure the release of eight tribesmen, who were arrested along with 12 other Pasedkhel residents on December 19 after killing of a soldier in a landmine blast near the Afghan border.
Khatir Khan, one of the arrested tribesmen, died in mysterious conditions on December 22 in the custody. His relatives levelled allegations of torture against the security officials, who rejected the allegations and said that he died after falling from a ladder while trying to escape from Charbagh Fort where all the captives were interrogated.
Reason of the death of Khatir Khan, however, could not be ascertained as the relatives refused to conduct a postmortem of his body.
The workers of different political parties and local people staged a protest sit-in at Bacha Khan Chowk in Landi Kotal Bazaar on December 26. The protesters demanded judicial probe into the mysterious death of Khatir Khan, unconditional release of all arrested men, monetary assistance at the pattern of Shuhada package for the family of Khatir Khan, registration of FIR of the incident and end to unwarranted raids by the security forces at the houses of local residents.
Security forces released 11 arrested tribesmen few days ago while keeping eight under detention on the pretext of investigations and fulfilling legal requirements.
The participants of the sit-in had threatened to not only continue the protest but also block Peshawar-Torkham Highway for an indefinite time if all their demands were not accepted.
The official team comprising security officials and deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner agreed to release eight persons on Wednesday along with agreeing to awarding Shuhada package to the family of Khatir Khan and releasing the remaining two Pasedkhel residents in due course of time. The participants of the sit-in, however, announced that their protest would continue till release of all the arrested men.
Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2020