Pakistan

Peace restored as Sunni tribes return to conflict-hit Kurram tribal district

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Photo Courtesy: Mehdi Hussain / Express Tribune

The Parachinar region of Kurram tribal district (formerly Kurram Agency, FATA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed a major development as Sunnis families returned to their homes after 11 years of sectarian conflict in the region, the Express tribune reported.  The report by Mehdi Hussain also underscores that the security forces not only not only restored peace but also organized sports and cultural events in the area, hence laying a foundation for repatriation of displaced families.

A formal and traditional welcome for the families was arranged by Shia community elders and Turi Bangash tribes on Wednesday. When sectarian violence was at its peak in 2007, hundreds of families had to flee their homes as peace and security situation had worsened due to the influx of the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups in the region. In the first batch of returnees, over 10 families returned to their homes in Parachinar.

The welcome was highlighted by tribal elders along with military and administration officials turning up at the Gateway to Kurram (known as Bab-e-Kurram) to receive the returning families. Afterwards, the returnees were garlanded and escorted to their homes in rallies in the midst of music played by paramilitary bands.

On this occasion, Senator Sajjad Turi, elder of Turi-Bangash tribe Haji Noor Muhammad, former MNA Sajid Turi and leader of Tehreek-e-Hussaini Allama Yousaf Hussain also assured the returning tribesmen of all-out support from the Shia community. It is reported that more displaced families would return to their homes soon in the second phase of repatriation.

Parachinar, the administrative headquarters of ex-Kurram Agency, and a predominantly Shia region, remained under severe stress for many years. The sectarian conflict precipitated with the rise of radical Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which was an amalgamation of anti-Shia Sunni Muslims and the Osama bin Laden’s Salafi school of thought.

However, a series of military operations and indigenous efforts by local tribes – in form of Jirga and creation of anti-militant Lashkars – paved way for peace in the region.

 

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