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Three peace activists kidnapped in Khyber

June 27, 2012


LANDI KOTAL, June 27: Militants kidnapped three peace activists in Khyber Agency on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, official sources said.

They said that members of banned militant group Lashkar-i-Islam abducted three volunteers of Akkakhel Peace Committee at gunpoint from Sultankhel area. The kidnapped volunteers identified as Naseem Khan, Mohammad Imran and Faraz were on routine patrol in the area when they were intercepted and taken away at gunpoint. No clue to their whereabouts was found till late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, security forces arrested at least eight suspected militants during a raid on a house in Alamgudar area on Wednesday.

Officials said that Rustam Khan, a local commander of Lashkar-i-Islam, and three of his brothers were also among the arrested persons. Identity of the rest of the arrested men could not be established.

Also, tribal elders and activists of different political parties have strongly condemned suspension of privileges of Bar Qambarkhel tribe by the political administration.

Shah Jehan, a local leader of Jamaat-i-Islami in Bara, said that residents of the area had already suffered owing to the ongoing military operation. The suspension of privileges also affected the issuance of national identity card, domicile certificate, marriage certificate and other necessary documents to tribal people.

He said that it was unjust to punish the entire tribe for refusal of Bar Qambarkhel to raise an armed lashkar.

“Providing security to people is duty of government. The unarmed tribesmen should not be pressured for providing security to security forces,” Mr Jehan said. He added that suspension of privileges was a violation of basic human rights.

Khiyal Mat Shah, a local elder, said that the ban on issuance of necessary documents adversely affected students and businessmen. The students needed domicile certificate for getting admission in educational institutions while businessmen had to produce national identity card for renewal of passport.

Assistant Political Agent Nasir Khan, when contacted, said that administration had already exempted students from the ban. He insisted that the privileges were suspended only when Bar Qambarkhel elders refused to hand over some wanted men to the administration and failed to expel unregistered Afghan clerics, who were involved in anti-Pakistan propaganda, from their area.

He said that as soon as Bar Qambarkhel tribesmen would adhere to the demands of administration, all their privileges would be restored.