We neither form peace force nor support military operation: Malakand Jirga

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LOWER DIR: A grand jirga of elders and politicians from all parts of Malakand division declared on Sunday that “we shall neither form a peace force” to combat militants nor would “we support any military operation”.

The declaration said the jirga had “reservations” over the acts of terrorism, extortion and lawlessness over the last five months in Malakand division.

The jirga called upon the state to identify the elements involved in terrorist acts and killing of innocent people. “The state should deal with militants with an iron hand.”

The jirga also criticised an “irresponsible” statement by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spokesman Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, who earlier claimed the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Paki­tan was not behind targeted killings and extortion incidents in the province. It said a grand jirga of elders at divisional level would be formed through voting to take measures for durable peace.

The jirga vowed to condemn with one voice, regardless of political affiliation, any untoward incident in any part of Malakand division.

The jirgas at district level would be encouraged to launch campaigns for peace and to raise political awareness.

According to the declaration, all districts of Malakand division would be given an equal presentation in the “grand Jirga”. It said that the grand Jirga would work for resolving local disputes that tended to disrupt peace in the region.

A meeting of the political parties, civil society and elders from Swat, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Malakand, Buner and Chitral was organised by the Dir Qaumi Pasoon (DQP), a body of elders, at Chakdara last week.

Political leaders, representatives of civil society and local elders attended the meeting. Malik Jehan Alam, the DQP chief, MPA Haji Bahadar Khan, former provincial minister Muzafar Said, former MNA Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, PML-N divisional president Malik Jehan Zeb Khan, former MPA Malik Behram Khan, ANP senior vice president Hussain Shah Yousafzai, JUI-F district chief Ameer Siraj ud Din and others.

The meeting also decided to form a grand jirga in Malakand division for the establishment of peace and harmony. The speakers said the nation would neither form a peace army nor fight against the militants.

They said that it was the sole responsibility of the state and its institutions to provide protection of the lives and property of the people against the elements that disrupted peace and order. They said that terrorist acts, complaints of extortion and lawlessness in the last five months in Malakand Division had worried the masses.

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