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Deteriorating Security Situation In Waziristan And Govt’s Inaction

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In the last few months, many unfortunate incidents have taken place in South and North Waziristan ranging from targeted killings, regional land disputes among tribes and attacks on security forces.

While Waziristan suffered, local administration and the incumbent government officials remained missing in action. The government’s absence from these areas creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and provides room for undesirable elements to exploit the situation per their will.

The local administration has so far failed to resolve land disputes and other issues of administrative nature among the tribes. Officials blatantly say that they are helpless due to lack of resources.

Government officials are mostly seen telling locals who approach them for help that their hands and tongues are tied because any authority that they exercised in the past has now been transferred to the security forces. All decisions in South and North Waziristan are now being taken by men in uniforms.

Then there is the problem of government formed peace committees which are a law unto themselves in the tribal region. Seeing this situation, one has to agree with the argument of the local administration that they have been turned into powerless dummies by the armed forces of Pakistan.

All the while, the government has preferred to keep mum over serious incidents like Khar Qamar and Speenwaam. It seems that the government is relishing the current state of affairs where it has reduced its role to that of an onlooker.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been portraying himself as the champion of rights, has repeatedly overlooked the sorry state of affairs in South and North Waziristan. It seems that he has discarded the idea of owning this region out of fear even though he is linked to this same region from his mother’s side. Further it also gives birth to strong doubts among the local population whenever he compromises on the rights of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the powers-that-be.

The situation in Waziristan is becoming worse as every other day a civilian or security personnel is killed in acts of terrorism. These tribal districts have only partially been merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). In reality, the state of affairs is the same as was the practice in the past. There is no change in terms of development or progress in the erstwhile FATA region. The region also lacks schools, hospitals and more importantly, the rule of law.

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Tribesmen should be thankful to Manzoor Pashteen, leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), for volunteering for the gigantic task of taming the tribes at such a time when even the local political administration wasn’t ready to interact with the disputing tribes. Pashteen intervened and asked the tribes to remain peaceful by doing away with past differences among themselves.

The young charismatic leader also placed emphasis on the fact that in the last one-and-a-half decade, many precious lives have been lost due to ongoing disunity among Pashtuns. Pashteen told these tribes to avoid fighting on minor issues and move ahead towards a prosperous tomorrow by forging unity among themselves.

Having said this, right now the armed forces are calling the shots in Waziristan and their consent is sought even for the most trivial of matters. This has created a gap between the security forces and the residents of South and North Waziristan. Sincere people want to lessen this gap by making the incumbent government realise its responsibility towards those who have brought them into power. After all, it is the job of the politically elected people to be able to pacify any tough situation that fall in the category of civilian issues.

Politicians are well-placed to resolve issues by finding political solutions to different problems. Thus, they should lead from the front and sincerely mediate between the conflicting parties to ensure civilian supremacy in the region.

By and large, the current situation in Waziristan is very critical due to the ineffectiveness of the government to find solutions to problems being faced by the local population. The local administration is sluggishly going about its business in these areas while the people suffer. The government now seems more like a dummy in a museum which can do nothing except to keep staring into a void.

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On top of that, security forces are deeply involved in handling all the affairs in Waziristan which has created serious misunderstandings between the locals and the security forces. Under these circumstances, the incumbent government needs to play an active role by mediating between the disputed parties and playing an active administrative role in the tribal region. It would help in lessening the growing chasm between residents of Waziristan and the security forces.

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Naya Daur