Parachinar has a perpetual problem. It pertains to social amalgamation and has led to severe fissures resulting in tribal clashes and even full-fledged warfare. These days the restive Kurram district, bordering Afghanistan, is once again home to a feud that has claimed more than a dozen lives, leaving behind the entire valley in chaos and sorrow. It apparently pertains to a dispute between two tribes over a piece of land, and has inevitably graduated into a complete breakdown of law and order. What worries more is that any upheaval in the former tribal belt of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa slips into sectarian mode, and then there is a free for all. This is quite a serious proposition that the people of that desolate area face very often and is in need of a permanent mechanism to address it in totality.
The point of respite at the moment is that a high-powered jirga has been formed, which will look into the intricate details of the recent brawl, and try to defuse it, accordingly. The tribal-accustomed regions are quite fair and compromising when it comes to negotiating among the heads of tribes and clans, and one hopes some middle ground will be found this time too. But that would not be a permanent solution, anyway. The demographic and strategic aspects of entire Kurram district are in need of being studied democratically, as well as wholeheartedly, and a solution found on the basis of law of the land. What has been happening for long is a policy of carrot and stick through which one section of the society is appeased at the behest of another. This galvanises more trouble and leaves behind a sour taste among the people who are at the mercy of mighty and live a miserable life and fear and frustration.
The tribal belt also is a hotbed of foreign meddling. Afghan and Iranian influence is quite evident, and that dovetails into the body-politick as an element of mistrust. That can only be checked by developing the area and doing away with communal disharmony. Education and local empowerment can act as a catalyst in uplifting a perplexing Parachinar towards peace.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2023.