PESHAWAR: A tribal militia fighting the Taliban in the Adezai outskirts of Peshawar has threatened it would stop its fight if the government does not issue the militia ration and ammunition within one week. Dilawar Khan, chief of the Adezai Qaumi Lashkar, told a press conference here on Thursday that the government had “an ambiguous policy” about the Taliban in Adezai and accused local legislators of supporting the Taliban.
“The local MPA and MNA of Awami National Party do not support the volunteers of lashkar against the Taliban as they don’t belong to their party,” he alleged.
He said the tribes of Adezai formed the lashkar in 2008 on the instruction of government. “Our 47 people including former chief of lashkar Haji Abdul Malik and several commanders have been killed in blasts, attacks and exchange of fire with militants so far,” he said.
He said that at the time of lashkar formation, Capital City Police Officer Dr Suleman and former commissioner Azam Khan had assured them that they would be provided with ration, arms and ammunition. “But the commitment has yet to materialised,” Mr Khan said.
He said that some weapons were provided to them but the volunteers were short of ammunition and ration. “The volunteers were forced to sell their properties and buy ammunition,” he added.
Mr Khan was flanked by other senior members of lashkar including Haji Mohammad Hanif, Israr Khan, Haji Mohammad Irshad, Haji Zahoor Ahmed and Haji Gul Nawaz Khan during the press conference.
He said that the peace body had been formed at a time when Adezai, Matani and other suburban localities of Peshawar had become ‘no go areas’ for police owing to increasing influence of militants.
He feared that Taliban could enter Peshawar if volunteers of lashkar stopped resisting them. He said that police had witnessed the worst time when CCPO Dr Suleman was leading a heavily armed flag march but militants attacked them and didn’t let them march in the area.
The militants, he said, had set up their own courts and used to decide cases openly but writ of the government was established to some extent in the area after formation of the lashkar. Mr Khan said that since its inception the lashkar was extending round the clock support to law enforcement agencies. The peace body cleared the area of militants at the cost of precious lives of its committed volunteers like Haji Abdul Malik, Haji Murad, Noor Islam, Israr Khan, Islam Gul and Abdul Manan Khan, he added.
“Several houses, markets and schools have been destroyed in the area. Scores of people have sustained injuries but the government has failed to compensate them,” he said. He added that residents of the area suffered huge financial losses as they were fighting militants and unable to do their routine work.
“Owing to militant attacks, our children have stopped going to schools and colleges. Agricultural fields have turned barren and the entire Adezai Bazaar is closed as people have to take arms round the clock,” the lashkar head said.
Mr Khan said that the lashkar and local police forced militants to vacate their houses in different suburban villages.
“The government on one hand deploys police, anti-terrorist squad, elite force and Frontier Constabulary and uses lashkar against militants but on the other it registers cases against the volunteers whenever they capture any militant in the area,” he said.
He said that several FIRs were registered against anti-Taliban volunteers. “It is an act of blackmailing by the government,” he alleged.
The Taliban, he said, time and again made offer to them for ceasefire but it was turned down. They were ready to pay compensation to lashkar if it stopped action against them, he said.
“On Wednesday, militants attacked our houses but none of the ministers and government officials bothered to visit us nor they condemned the incident,” he said and threatened to stop supporting police in future.
Mr Khan said that the volunteers were doing well against militants but they belonged to opposition parties and the Awami National Party-led government did not want to support them.