Kurram district has once again become a flashpoint.
Only a few months ago, eight people, including seven teachers, were killed in separate attacks in the tribal district, which allegedly was a result of a land dispute.
The latest clashes are again being blamed on a dispute over shamlat land. As of Tuesday, 11 people have been killed, with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government calling on the federal government to send additional military and paramilitary troops to help end the conflict.
The clashes had begun on July 7 between the residents of Dandar Sehra and Boshehra. Later, they spread to Pewar, Gido, Balishkhel, Khar Killay, Sadda, Para Chamkani, Muqbal, and Kunj Alizai areas.
Besides the deaths, over 70 people have been injured in the conflict. It is being reported that both sides were using heavy weapons to inflict maximum loss.
Various roads remain blocked due to which the district is facing shortage of essential items.
The situation is quite serious. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Faisal Karim Kundi has urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to intervene and bring an end to the raging conflict.
Therefore, to resolve the dispute, a 30-member tribal jirga from Kohat, Hangu and Orakzai districts are making efforts to broker a ceasefire.
The jirga has met tribal elders from both Sadda and Parachinar.
Kurram has always been volatile. The sectarian element has played a major part in the conflicts.
Yes, there are land disputes, some of which date back to the pre-partition period. These disputes have turned bloody, with opposing sides clashing with each other. Scores of lives have been lost in the conflicts.
However, what is more disturbing is that the conflicts end up getting a sectarian color.
The sentiments are further fuelled on social media where the dispute is shown as a clash between opposing sects.
First and foremost, those social media accounts should be identified that incite people and shut down. With Muharram just round the corner, the situation could spiral out of control and may even spread to other parts of the country.
Secondly, the authorities should have learnt from the targeted killings in May, which too were a result of land disputes.
The provincial government had set up a revenue commission to settle the land dispute.
According to officials, work on the demarcation of land was underway but its seems the process is continuing at a snail’s pace as nothing has materialized so far.
Even Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sajid Turi voiced concerns over repeated ceasefire violations.
The authorities should therefore take necessary steps with the assistance of the tribal elders to maintain peace in the region till the land disputes are resolved once and for all.