NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Life came to a standstill in North Waziristan tribal district on Thursday after residents blocked all roads and observed a shutter-down strike as part of a ‘protest movement’ launched three weeks ago against targeted killings.

Business centres, markets and shops were closed in Miramshah, Mirali and other small towns of the district on the call of a jirga of Uthmanzai tribe.

Thousands of people took part in the street protests. They placed boulders on the Bannu-Miramshah Road, Thall-Mirali Road, Ghulam Khan Road, Razmak Road, Datakhel Road and many other link roads suspending vehicular traffic for long hours. They also burned old tyres.

A 50-strong organising committee oversaw the protests.

Committee head Malik Rab Nawaz said the North Waziristan Political Alliance, transporters and other associations ‘fully’ supported the protest.

The elders of Uthmanzai tribe had begun a protest against the growing incidence of targeted killings in the district insisting dozens of people lost life in those incidents. The residents had organised a sit-in protest in Eidak village and later extended protests to the entire district.

On Wednesday, senior officials of the district administration held several meetings with tribal elders in an attempt to persuade them to call off the protest, but to no avail.

The officials promised more steps to check targeted killings but the elders demanded a ‘firm guarantee’ about it.

The committee also announced that the sit-in participants would go to Islamabad if targeted killings didn’t stop.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2022

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