BANNU, June 3 As parents of the missing students of the Razmak Cadet College threatened to launch a 'silent protest' from Thursday to mount pressure on the government for their early recovery, authorities appeared to have no clue on Wednesday to their whereabouts.
Jirgas of Bakkakhel and Janikhel tribes offered help to the administration in its efforts to free the kidnapped students and teachers.
The tribal elders said contacts had been made with Taliban groups but their leadership had denied their involvement in the kidnapping.
The parents and relatives of the 35 missing students and two teachers met the commissioner and district coordinator officer of Bannu and expressed their dissatisfaction over the efforts made so far by the administration.
Dozens of parents gathered in front of the offices and criticised the college administration's decision of closing the institution. They demanded an inquiry into the matter and interrogation of Principal Javeed Iqbal.
Commissioner Sardar Abbas and the DCO assured them that the government was working hard for early and safe recovery of the students.
They said the administration had increased pressure on the captors but the students' release might take time.
They said the matter was being dealt with caution because the lives of dozens of children were involved.
The officials said the administration had stopped all privileges of the Bakkakhel and Janikhel tribes and sealed their businesses, adding that more punitive action, including detention of tribesmen under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, could be taken.
A large number of elders attended separate jirgas of Bakkakhel and Janikhel tribes and said the students were not in their areas. They also met the commissioner and the DCO.
Maulana Bahadar Jan, the chief of a local peace committee, informed the jirga of Bakkakhel tribe about his committee's meeting with Tehrik-i-Taliban (North Waziristan) leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar. He said Gul Bahadar had expressed regret over the incident, denied his group's involvement and promised to take up the issue with TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud.
The elders of Bakkakhel tribe said the students had been kidnapped from the Janikhel area and, therefore, it should be held responsible.
They said a lashkar would be formed if the students were not released by Friday.
The Janikhel jirga, headed by Malak Mowaiz Khan, termed the incident a conspiracy to defame them. He met Bannu Frontier Region's assistant political agent and offered his tribe's cooperation.
Agencies add Javed Alam, the director of studies at the Razmak Cadet College, told The Associated Press that 42 students and three teachers had not been rescued.
“Two or three of the abducted students were allowed by their captors to talk to their parents. During their brief phone conversation, they said that they were being treated well, they were being given food, but we have no idea exactly where they are being held,” he said.
No ransom or other demands were made, and the captors did not identify themselves, he said.