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National

May 17, 2018

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Protest continues in Mir Ali against target killings

PESHAWAR: Mostly young tribesmen continued to stage protest sit-in in Mir Ali town of North Waziristan against target killings. The youth from Mir Ali started the peaceful sit-in three days ago after the latest target killing of three persons in North Waziristan. The protesters are demanding an end to the target killings and protection to the tribespeople returning to their homes and villages after their large-scale displacement following the military operation Zarb-e-Azb against local and foreign militants in June 2014. . Two persons, including the son of former MNA from North Waziristan, Maulana Deendar, were shot dead in Hassukhel village in Mir Ali subdivision last Sunday.

Another tribesman, Azizur Rahman, stated to be a teacher, was killed in Ziraki village the same day in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan. According to tribesmen, 10 people have been killed in incidents of target killing in North Waziristan in the past one month.

They said that two girls’ schools were also blown up in Hassukhel village in Mir Ali last week. Besides these incidents of terrorism, the tribesmen said a wedding ceremony was attacked with hand-grenades in Hamzoni village that left two people dead and 30 injured.

The latest terrorist incident took place in Shawal Valley in which six Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred and one was injured last Sunday. It was stated to be a cross-border attack mounted from Afghanistan’s territory.

According to tribesmen, pamphlets were circulated in different areas in North Waziristan asking people to close schools and stop sending girls to schools. The protesting tribesmen said that armed men had been sighted in different villages roaming during the night with their faces covered.

Some of the tribesmen claimed that former hardcore militants after their surrender to the law-enforcement agencies could be behind the ongoing target killings. They complained the tribespeople suffered heavy losses during the military operation as their houses were damaged and shops and markets were demolished.

The tribespeople said they faced hardships by living in makeshift camps in scorching heat for restoration of peace in North Waziristan. However, they complained that despite their sufferings and financial losses, North Waziristan was still not safe for them.

Military authorities recently announced that North Waziristan had been cleared of militants and termed it weapon-free zone. The latest violence has put a question mark on these claims with people demanding the military authorities to ensure their protection. Recently when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited North Waziristan along with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and other dignitaries, a noted tribal elder and chieftain of North Waziristan, Malik Nasrullah Khan said he had asked the prime minister to help them rid of both good and bad Taliban.

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