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Published on June 18th, 2020
By Baseer Qalandar from Peshawar

In response to dangerous elements linked to the increasing incidents of target killings in Bajaur, a former agency of erstwhile FATA now a district in the Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, local youths are calling for aggressive investigations and a probe into the alleged extrajudicial murder of Zahid Khan, a Bajaur resident, while in custody at the Azad Kashmir Jail.

According to former Chair of the Bajaur Youth Jirga (BYJ), Sartaj Aziz, target killings have now resumed in the region after a brief period of peace, but the government is refusing to act.

“There are new incidents of target killings in various parts of Bajaur, peace is quickly deteriorating,” he claimed. “Yet the government is not taking anything seriously, and we have little choice than to raise our voice against this negligence through the BYJ platform.”

Members of the BYJ have denounced claims by local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) that target killings are now far and few compared to prior years. Chair of the BYJ, Wajid Ali, stated that in the past month alone, 5 people have been gunned down by target killers.

“There have been too many executions now, everyday there is another murder. Just a few days ago there was a bomb attack in Mohmand that martyred innocents,” he said. “If these target killings do not stop, we will be forced to take to the roads to protest, and we will not turn back until the establishment guarantees that there will be no more target killings.”

BYJ members claim that although it has been over a year since the tribal belt had been merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with promises that the security in the region will drastically improve, people in tribal areas continue to live in uncertainty and the fear of death even today.