State’s pillars don’t exist for Parachinar

Parachinar has suffered four terrorist attacks during first six months of 2017 – after Pakistan launched Operation Radul Fassad to clean up the country of terrorism. The latest twin blasts that hit Parachinar June 23 at Toori Market claimed more than 70 lives. The sad chapter that followed was the clash between protesters and Frontier Constabulary (FC), a paramilitary force, which left three civilians dead.

It is not the first time this sequence of violence following terrorism has happened. There were four incidents of terrorism and four clashes between the protesters and the FC officials that resulted in casualties. Every bombing was followed by a clash.

Parachinar is the capital of Kurram Agency and the largest city of FATA. It borders Paktia province of Afghanistan and Tora Bora. Toori Bangash and Aurakzai tribes are the biggest clans. And most of Toori Bangash are Shia Muslims.

Parachinar has been under Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) and its allied groups’ attacks for the last several years. To stop the terror attacks, local tribes formed a peace committee that effectively countered TTP, and supported Pakistan forces against terror networks. In 2016, the government (Political Agent of Kurram Agency) abolished the peace committee and deployed FC in the area to keep order. The attacks and clashes arose in the wake of this deployment.

At the time this editorial is being written, the protesters of Parachinar are in their sixth day of a sit-in against the terrorism and FC’s shooting at protesters. But none of the elected officials from the Federal Government has visited them to address their grievances. The FC says that its officials had only shot into the air to disperse violent protesters.

All of the state’s pillars have adopted a mysterious silence over the scene in Parachinar. The legislature is busy in debate over corruption cases against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, and does not have time to discuss the ‘petty issues’ like Parachinar.

The Executive, PM and his cabinet are spending their all energies to pull the ruling family out of the crisis. Prime Minister Sharif abandoned his stay in London where he was supposed to celebrate Eid and came back in the wake of Bahawalpur oil container tragedy that claimed more than 150 lives. He announced huge amounts for the bereaved families and visited the area to express solidarity with those affected. But he too has no time for Parachinar.

Our activist judiciary is also quiet. The Chief Justice of Pakistan could have ordered a judicial inquiry into these clashes but he seems to not be bothered.

The fourth pillar, Pakistan’s media, kept showing pre-recorded glamorous programs during Eid days and did not cover Parachinar’s tense situation at all.

The government, at least, should order an inquiry about repeated clashes between the FC and locals to ease the tension and stop the cycle of violence.

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