Soldiers during a military operation in northwestern Pakistan. — File photo

PESHAWAR, Sept 5: Leaders of different political parties have formed an alliance under the banner of Fata Qabail Ittehad to pressurise the government for stopping military operations in parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas, warning that in case their miseries are not ended they will collectively decide to migrate to Afghanistan.

In this regard a group of tribesmen addressed a joint press conference in Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday. Briefing media persons, Mohammad Iqbal Afridi said that that drone attacks had greatly disturbed the civilian population of Waziristan Agency and the people had already made their intentions clear to migrate to Afghanistan.

He said that launch of an operation in North Waziristan would be a blunder on part of the government. He said that the Fata Qabail Ittehad would soon convene a meeting of tribal elders to decide future line of action so that they could take steps with consultation.

Speaking on behalf of the group of tribesmen, Mr Iqbal said that the newly-established forum was not ready to accept the government’s plan concerning local bodies’ elections in the prevailing circumstances.

“Right now, the most important thing is restoration of peace, rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, compensation of affected families, and reconstruction of infrastructure besides provision of basic facilities to people,” he explained.

Flanked by Ahmed Zeb advocate, Dost Mohammad, Gul Madar Afridi and others, Mr Iqbal said that holding of local elections were not possible in Fata because majority of tribesmen had vacated their houses due to lawlessness and shifted to other parts of the country. He said that the elections in Fata had been announced just to defuse public pressure against military operations.

He lamented that tribesmen in Khyber Agency had suffered the most due to delay in completion of operation, saying that there seemed to be no end to the operations and people were living an uncertain life, not knowing when they would return to their homes.

“The government has failed to restore normalcy to Khyber Agency. Therefore, we are planning to shift to Afghanistan with a hope to live a life better than in camps, as police are still targeting us even in IDP camps,” he said, adding that they might boycott next general elections if the situation in Fata did not improve.

Besides, he said that the tribesmen were unable to move from one place to another because police arrested innocent people only to release them after payment of bribe. He claimed that two tribal elders, Haji Muran and Haji Zareen, had been arrested from Jalozai Camp without any reason. “We have been forced to live in settled areas and now the FCR laws cannot be applied to us,” Mr Iqbal said.

Ahmad Zeb, an elder from Bajaur Agency, called for reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in tribal region to provide health and education health facilities to tribesmen.

He said that due to attacks in Bajaur from Afghan soil, the people of border area had vacated their houses, but the government had so far not provided them basic facilities like tents and food.