LOWER DIR: Nine people were killed and 16 others got injuries when rival groups opened indiscriminate firing during a jirga in Miangano Cham, Bandagai area of Barawal in Upper Dir district on Monday.
The residents of the area and police said that the jirga of local elders was convened to settle a land dispute between the families of Amir Bacha and Jan Alam for construction of a link road.
They said that members of rival families after an exchange of harsh words started indiscriminate firing at each other. As a result nine persons identified as Inamullah, Haroon Khan, Hanifullah, Bakhtawar Khan, Amir Badshah, Sher Badshah, Bakht Munir, Najamud Din and Mehmood Khan were killed while 16 others including Rahatullah, Jamil, Amir Bacha, Atiq, Bacha Munir and Attaullah sustained bullet injuries.
The accused, according to eyewitnesses, escaped after the incident. The dead and the injured were shifted to district headquarters hospital in Dir Khas from where the critically wounded persons were referred to Timergara and Peshawar.
The district administration declared an emergency at the district headquarters hospital.
Police cordoned off the area and brought the situation under control.
Later, hundreds of the locals placed the dead bodies on Dir-Peshawar road in Chukiatan and blocked it to all kinds of vehicular traffic in protest. They were demanding immediate arrest of the killers.
A local elder told journalists that the jirga was in progress to settle the land dispute when the incident occurred.
He said that majority of the dead and injured were members of reconciliatory jirga.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari took notice of the tragic incident and sought a report from the regional police officer.
He directed the regional police officer of Malakand to take strict action against the accused and send a report to central police office as soon as possible.
The IGP said that dispute resolution councils needed to be activated to end property disputes while jirgas should be provided with foolproof security in future.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2021