KURRAM: A clash over ownership of community land in Kurram tribal district has triggered fear among locals that it may lead to bloodshed if security forces do not intervene.

The clash between the residents of Para Chamkani and Balishkhel in Lower Kurram occurred when the latter started construction on what the locals claimed was Shamilat or community lands. The two groups have been using heavy weapons against each other.

Malik Safdar Ali, an elder from the Balishkhel, said that the residents of Para Chamkani had occupied hundreds of acres of their land and had been carrying out illegal construction on it. “After a long legal battle, the court gave the people of Balishkhel ownership of the land. The court also issued orders to raze the illegal constrictions on the land,” he claimed.

But despite the court orders, he said, residents of Para Chamkani continued illegal constructions on the land. “On the other hand, we were stopped and threatened by the Para Chamkani people when we went there today to build setups on our land. They fired at us, provoking us to take up arms against them,” said Mr Ali.

He said that government and security forces should play a role in giving the people of Balishkhel “their right according to the record of the revenue department.” He said that the illegal construction on their land by Para Chamkani people should be demolished.

The elders of Para Chamkani were not available for comments.

Exchange of fire between residents of the two localities continued till filing of this report but no casualties occurred.

The district administration and police reached the area and a jirga was convened to negotiate a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, MNA Sajid Turi told Dawn that a ceasefire was negotiated between the rival groups and efforts were underway to dislodge armed groups from the area.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020