By Riaz Ali Toori:
Parachinar, Pakistan’s paradise is very significant due to its strategic location, bordering Afghanistan, 250 km west of Islamabad. Lying in the upper part of Kurram Agency, it is blessed with natural beauty, is part of Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan and its geographical coordinates are 33° 53′ 51″ North, 70° 6′ 0″ East.
People there are friendly and eager to acquire knowledge. There are good opportunities as well as encouragement for females aspiring for education. Each year students in hundreds leave the town for other cities of Pakistan in pursuit of standard education. A good many members of the young generation are presently studying in almost all Cadet Colleges, medical colleges, and engineering universities across the country. Remarkably, there are no restrictions, usually in existence in the tribal societies, on women’s education while parents feel proud if their daughters achieve a mark in education. There are one Degree College for men and one for women. There are nearly 270 primary, 30 secondary and 32 high schools excluding a number of private schools and colleges. The main source of income is farming on very small scale, gardening and natural resource utilizations. A large section of people from Parachinar have proceeded abroad, especially to the Middle East for making a living resulting in comparatively decent and modern standard of life being enjoyed by them. Most of the people there prefer government service and a large portion of the youth have been commissioned in Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force. Qualified doctors and engineers from Parachinar, who are in hundreds, are serving in different hospitals and departments around the country and abroad. This friendly and happy environment was shattered by some illegitimate émigrés with the help of a few devilish folk in town.
Despite its natural beauty, talent of the people and strategic importance, Parachinar is presently in a dire state due to sectarian brutality originated by the politico-religious-militant policies of the dictator Zia-ul-Haq. The people of FATA will never forgive the dictator for converting their earthly paradise into hell. People there were happy with their simple and strange traditions. He snatched from tribesmen the right of living in peace, self-respect and happiness. How difficult it was for those families who were dislocated from different parts of FATA and forced to live in IDP camps, making their women and children beg for food, shelter and clothing. These were initiated by Zia-ul-Haq who in the name of Holy War against USSR pushed the simple tribesmen into war and their children were forcefully trained as militants. He never thought once that the militants then fighting a so-called holy war against USSR could become the cause of extremism and sectarianism around the country.
The worst a State can do is to subject its citizens to war either against any enemy or any organization. It is the responsibility of the State to secure its borders and protect its territory by itself rather than by the citizens. Citizens only can contribute in the well-being of the State through paying taxes and respecting the law and constitution of the country.
The residents of Parachinar are largely Shia Toori tribe, who has been the target of Jehadi atrocities, the sole cause of sectarian clashes in that area. These clashes have turned the once beautiful land into ruins, halting human life there. The main road called Tall-Parachinar road connecting Parachinar to the rest of country has been blocked by terrorists. This has caused the local merchants to gouge the prices up to ten times of even basic staple foods such as flour, ghee, sugar and rice. The younger residents of Parachinar are worst off still. With the lack of basic education, the land of Parachinar is effectively being thrown back into the dark ages. Most of the schools in the area have been destroyed by terrorist’s attacks.
If the road opens for a day or a week, kidnapping, slaughtering and killing travelers immediately becomes rife. As a result the people of Parachinar are besieged within their area with lack of daily and much needed rations and passing through state of angst and uncertainty.
In very recent few years dozens of blasts, rocket attacks, gunship fires, and kidnappings have taken place. Today there is no family that has had not lost a beloved in this ongoing imposed terrorism. The people of Parachinar are being killed, slaughtered, kidnapped and their dead bodies are being mutilated after slaughtering and killing. The recently abducted were killed and then their dead bodies were set on fire. All the victims were below 35years in age. Some were married who left behind widows and orphans while those who were engaged left their fiancés with unfulfilled dream of having their hands stained red with henna.
Despite this difficult situation the teachers of Parachinar with the help of locals are busy in educating their pupils as a result of which the students scored very well in recent Matric and BA/BSc examinations. This year, thousands of students, both girls and boys, passed the Metric exam with excellent results same was the result of BA/BSc.
The students in thousand on this Eid have gone Parachinar to celebrate the moments of happiness with their families are now wedged into Parachinar due to the blockade of road. As a result daily they are holding protest in Parachinar city and insisting the Government to either take them safely to Peshawar or open the road for them so they can go to their universities and colleges that can continue their studies.
This everything is forcing the locals to agitate against Government inside Parachinar and in different cities. If the media and Human Rights organization would have not ignore the crises of Parachinar, today it wouldn’t be the most dangerous zone for Human Rights violation in the world.
What is more hurtful for those who want to see a stable, progressive, peaceful and united Pakistan is that the local tribesmen are losing their trust on the political government of Pakistan, state agencies and even Pakistan Army as all so far have totally failed to provide security to their lives and region.
In a condolence gathering for the seven martyrs of Parachinar who were killed mercilessly on the very next day of Eid ul Fitar, the people strongly expressed their heartfelt grief over the killings as well as apathy on the part of the Government and its institutions.
Now the people there are assuming and believing that it is our state and its agencies do not want peace in Parachinar. Such thinking in an area where not a single case of attack on Government officials has been reported while history is witness that the people have fought in the name of Pakistan and are more patriotic than other inhabitants; is highly injurious for the stability of country.
I was horrified to listen to the views of the people that they are so much fed up of this ongoing slaughter of their men, women and children that they are thinking to give up citizenship of Pakistan as their women, children, honours, lives and property are not safe in Pakistan.
A number of people were of the opinion to appeal to the UN and some countries to accept them as their prefecture and give them security of life.
In such a situation I strongly appeal to the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan that it is time to end this horrific war at any cost and provide the much-needed security to the region whose people are most nationalistic. The Pakistan Army must take fierce actions against the extremists and terrorists to make the area safe and peaceful before our enemies take the advantage of the worst situation to stimulate agitations and mutiny against the state of Pakistan.