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Tribesmen want end to operation ‘drama’ in Bara

January 12, 2012

An internally displaced girl from Bara looks through a scarf covering her face while sitting amid other women waiting to be registered at the Jalozai camp.—Reuters (File Photo)

PESHAWAR: People displaced from Khyber Agency’s Bara tehsil and currently sheltering in tents and rented houses have complained of prolonged curfew and closure of Bara bazaar, educational institutions and hospitals, and demanded an early end to ongoing military offensive in their area to ease their misery.

The complaint was shared with the media by the elders of Afridi tribe during ‘Khyber Qaumi Jirga’ at the Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday.

Noted among tribal elders were Shah Faisal Afridi, Sohbat Khan Afridi, Samiullah Afridi Advocate, Haji Mohkam Afridi, Mir Akbar and Haji Hannan Afridi during the Tehrik-i-Mutasireen Bara event.

Tribal elders said hundreds of children and women had been killed and injured during the Bara operation, while the curfew in place for 29 months in the tehsil had made the lives of the displaced persons, mostly poor people, extremely miserable.

They rejected the ongoing Bara offensive as ‘a drama’ and demanded its end without delay for the relief of displaced people, who were unable to rent houses and had insufficient food.

According to them, women and children, who had lost patrons of their families, face serious financial problems for being denied registration as internally displaced persons.

Mr Samiullah Afridi said the military operation had left the people’s houses and businesses in ruins, while thousands of locals were forced into leaving the area and staying in tents or rented houses.

He said educational institutions and health centres in Bara had been shut down, while the prolonged curfew and operation had made people to stay indoors to the misery of patients.

Mr Mohkam, Mr Akbar and Mr Hannan said the war on terrorism was ‘others’ war’ imposed on the people of tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

They said tribal people always rendered great sacrifices for Pakistan but rulers selected their areas for ‘so-called war on terror’ to please the US.

Other speakers, including Maulana Moharrak Shah, Javed Afridi, Haris Afridi and Shah Faisal, said Bara tribesmen were compelled to vacate their houses but they were denied the status and facilities of internally displaced persons.

They said Bara operation victims were without basic facilities and provisions at tents even after the start of cold weather and that the tents were worn out.

“In camps, tribesmen are disgraced as food given to them is insufficient and medicines and other provisions are in short supply,” Mr Faisal said.

He said Bara tribesmen were peaceful and had always obeyed the law but the government imposed a war on them unjustly. “We don’t know why the government is behaving as a stepmother to the tribesmen in distress?”

Participants later unanimously passed a resolution to demand end to the military operation and relax curfew in Bara tehsil, announce compensation for the displaced and offensive-affected families.

By adopting another resolution, they demanded that the government let tribesmen revive businesses to generate money for education of children and reconstruction of damaged houses.