ISLAMABAD: The Orakzai district administration has resolved a 45-year-old dispute over land through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The dispute over the land in Mulla Pattay near Ghiljo Bazaar, Upper Orakzai, involved A’Khel and Dara Dar Mamazai (DDM) tribes which claimed their ownership of the land. A conflict between the two parties reared its head in 1976 and continued since then. As a result, four people were killed in a clash in January this year.

Orakzai Deputy Commissioner Dr Asif Rahim told Dawn that in 1976 the elders of the tribes were engaged by the then political agent. Possession of the disputed land was taken over by the political administration and both the parties were refrained from using the land.

“Later in 1979, an Afghan refugee camp was established on the land with mutual consent of the two tribes during the Afghan war. The land remained under the use of Afghan nationals till 2007,” he said.

The tribal land dispute lingered on since 1976 in Orakzai, claiming four lives

During militancy in the Orakzai area from 2007 to 2017, all inhabitants along with the Afghan refugees migrated to lower areas, he said. In 2016, internally displaced persons returned to their native areas in Upper Orakzai sub-division and started reconstruction of their damaged houses.

Dr Rahim said that in December 2020, the A’Khel tribe started construction of cottages on the disputed land and consequently the DDM tribe held a jirga with the A’Khel tribe. Other stakeholder tribes also participated in the jirga and claimed their ownership of the disputed land.

“This year on January 30, the elders of Mishti, Sheikhan, Rabia Khel and DDM tribes held a jirga near Mulla Pattay and demanded demolition of under-construction cottages by the A’Khel tribe on the disputed area. Next day, officials of the district administration and police also participated in the jirga proceedings. Meanwhile, the youngsters of DDM tribe attacked the cottages and started demolishing the constructed cottages.

During the clash one person belonging to the A’Khel tribe and three men from the rival tribe were killed, the deputy commissioner said. Members of the DDM tribe started agitation against the government for not taking action against their rivals and demanded registration of an FIR against the elders of A’Khel tribe. They staged a sit-in along with the three bodies outside the district administration headquarters in Baber Mela. After successful negotiations, the bodies were shifted for burial and road was reopened for traffic.

Mr Rahim said that after extension of ADR (Saliseen) Act and Rules 2020 to the newly merged districts, the dispute was referred to Saliseen Committee (ADR) for an amicable solution after obtaining consents from both the parties.

“I notified a Saliseen Committee comprising eight members from both sides. The committee started its jirga proceedings and held various sessions of the jirga,” the deputy commissioner said. “Finally, on Dec 7, the Saliseen Committee unanimously announced its decision paving the way for an amicable resolution of the land dispute according to which the A’Khel tribe has presented witnesses testifying its claim on the land on oath. Both the parties have accepted the judgement. Implementation of the decision will be completed in a day or two,” he said.

The goal of the ADR is to ensure inexpensive and expeditious justice without resorting to formal litigation.

PPP starts mobilising youth

The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) has started mobilising the tribal youth for the coming local government elections.

PPP secretary general Farhatullah Babar said this in a statement on the eve of formal launch of the campaign of Dr Shershah Afridi for the office of tehsil nazim of Bara in Khyber district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Dr Afridi is a young, highly educated and progressive activist whose election as chairman of an important tehsil in Khyber will give a boost to the campaign for uplift of former tribal districts,” Mr Babar said.

He urged the people of Bara tehsil to come out in large numbers on the polling day and vote for Dr Afridi.

Mr Babar said the people of tribal districts had long suffered due to ill-advised state policies during the past decades and it was time to heal the wounds on the souls of the tribal people.

He called for curbing resurgence of militants in tribal districts, de-mining of the areas, rehabilitation of the people affected during various military operations and launch of a massive socio-economic programme for uplift of the areas.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2021

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