PARACHINAR: Land disputes in the Kurram tribal district threaten to assume sectarian proportions, challenging peace and harmony in a region with a long history of sectarian violence.

This was stated by tribal elders while speaking at a press conference at the Parachinar Press Club. They pointed out that old disputes over land, mountains, forests and water resources had been festering since ages and could take on a sectarian hue if the authorities didn’t help resolve them.

“There are elements out to give these disputes a sectarian colour,” said Allama Muzamil Hussain. “This could create conflict and bring a bad image to the district and our country.”

The presser was organised by ‘Sadaey Mazlomeen’, an association of community representatives, including elders, political and religious figures.

“It is due to negligence on part of the local administration for four decades that the situation has vitiated to an extent that it can easily assume catastrophic proportions,” said Shabir Sajdi, another elder.

In the past, Kurram has been a theatre to volatile sectarian conflicts that has caused scores of human casualties and damaged businesses and properties. The elders urged the authorities to resolve pending disputes on the basis of available land revenue record that dates back to the British-era.

“It will help strengthen the prospects of peace in the district,” they said in a joint statement.

The elders demanded that elements involved in a recent bomb explosion in Shorku Imambargah should be brought to justice. They demanded that the shrine of Sufi Saint Mian Syed Anwar Badshah in the neighbouring Orkzai tribal district should be opened to pilgrims.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020