Celebrating Eid in Parachinar still a far cry

by AZ

Children of Parachinar in a peaceful protest

Source: Dawn.com

 The otherwise noisy street in Satellite Town wears a deserted look as most of its residents have left for their hometowns to celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones.

But Irshad Ali, 33, will find himself as the lone person in the residential lane for he is unable to join his family in the restive Parachinar which has been cut off from rest of the country due to the blockade of the only route by militants.

Mr Ali has been longing for two years to celebrate Eid with his family members in his native village in Kurram Agency but the closure of Thall-Parachinar Road always shattered his dreams as armed militants have been killing passengers traveling on the volatile road.

But this time, the tall and slim Ali was quite hopeful of meeting his family members on Eid due to military operation in his tribal area which would result in reopening of the militant-infested road. However, the highway could not be cleared and he has to celebrate another Eid without his family.

“This time, I am missing my parents, sisters and brothers so severely that wish I could fly to my village to escape being hunted by the armed militants who have occupied the only land route to my area,” said Mr Ali, who has taken refuge here after
receiving threats from miscreants in Kurram Agency.

Like him, hundreds of tribesmen from Kurram Agency in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and other parts of the country cannot travel to the tribal area as the alternative route to Parachinar via Afghanistan has also become risky after the killing of five Turi
tribes, including a woman in Paktika province, three days back.

“You are either killed or kidnapped while traveling to Kurram Agency. If you cannot pay ransom to the militants then the abducted person is definitely slaughtered and you have to pay for the dead body too,” said Ali Hussain, a member of the Turi tribe.

“The militants do not show a sign of mercy even to infants, elderly people and women.” Mr Hussain said one of a man from his village Khayal Hussain was returning from Saudi Arabia after four years and when he was abducted from Paktika province in
Afghanistan. After two days, he added, his body was received by his family members on the border.

Even the MNA from the area, Sajid Hussain Turi, who is also chairman of the National Assembly standing committee on states and frontier regions, is unable to travel to his native town.

“I regret that despite the recently-concluded military operation, the Thall-Parachinar Road is still not opened for general traffic. It seems as if Kurram Agency has been sandwiched between Pakistan and Afghanistan as Turi tribe is being targeted on both routes,” the lawmaker told this reporter.

He said the government was committing a blunder by turning a blind eye to the woes of the people of his area. “The only fault on our part is perhaps we are fighting the Taliban and assisting the armed forces in this war otherwise our people are quite peaceful, cooperative and liberal,” he maintained.

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