December 7th, 2020
By Rehan Piracha
Terrorists are still killing residents in Waziristan despite a decade of security operations in the region, Mir Kalam Wazir, member of provincial assembly from North Waziristan, said in a panel discussion with Voicepk.net. The discussion was on the rise in terrorism incidents in Waziristan.
Speaking in the panel discussion alongside Asad Ullah, president of Youth of Waziristan, and Farzana Ali, bureau chief in Peshawar of Aaj News, Wazir said that unfortunately people in Waziristan had supported the security operations but had not been able to live in peace since they returned to their homes after the operations ended.
Thousands displaced still living in Afghanistan, IDP camps
He said thousands of families were still displaced and longing to return to their homes, adding that 2,500 displaced families were living in the Bakakhel camp while according to his estimates 15,000 displaced families were languishing in Afghanistan, much higher than the government figure of 6000 displaced families.
Mir Kalam Wazir said the terrorists have changed tactics after the security operations. Firstly, the terrorists were now targeting defenseless residents in their homes, emboldened by the general deweaponization in the region. Unlike previously, these armed attackers were now targeting women which were unheard of in tribal societies. According to Wazir, residents believe that the operations have brought them hardship but no peace yet, adding that residents returned home to destroyed shops and businesses. He said the rushed evacuation prior to the operations had caused untold misery and deaths.
Currently, Wazir opined, that the rise in terrorism incidents has gone unchecked despite the presence of thousands of troops and security personnel. He fears a new war in the making in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but warns the government of not letting the bloodshed happen in their homeland again.
‘Legislators not serious in addressing terrorism in Waziristan’
According to the MPA, legislators in the provincial assembly had no inkling of their role and despite his efforts to highlight the worsening security situation in Waziristan, treasury members have shown no seriousness in addressing the issue of terrorism in Waziristan.
Mir Kalam Wazir claimed that the government was pushing its legislative agenda in a dictatorial manner on the assembly floor on the basis of their majority. He said people and opposition will oppose the newly-tabled Alternate Dispute Resolution law. He called upon the State to act immediately to control the cycle of violence in the region.
‘FIRs rotting in police stations with no arrests’
Participating in the discussion, Asad Ullah, President of Youth of Waziristan, said peace began to wane after a year of IDPs’ return. He said his organization has held numerous protests on repeated incidents of target killings. He regretted that the district administration has failed to arrest terrorists despite assurances, adding that terrorism incidents have increased to two to three attacks every week. He said recently four tribal elders were shot dead by unidentified gunmen just meters away from the police station, adding that FIRs were being lodged against unidentified assailants but no attackers have been arrested yet. Scores of FIRs are rotting in police stations, he said.
Asad Ullah said people in Waziristan want courts and not jirgas in the shape of the newly-tabled ADR law. He said no courts had been set up in Waziristan and people in North Waziristan had to travel 70 kilometers to visit the judicial complex in Bannu. He claimed that the government was pushing people back into the era of draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation law.
’57 people killed in attacks this year’
Sharing concerns expressed by other panelists, Farzana Ali said the security situation in the merged tribal districts was getting grim day by day. She recalled that 57 people had been killed in terrorism incidents this year, adding that people from all walks of life had been targeted in the new wave of violence. Farzana Ali said the promised infrastructure in the merged district had not seen the light of the day, adding that people there were without facilities of basic amenities. She urged that the government had to act decisively and swiftly to stem this new wave of terrorism quickly spiraling out of hand.