WANA: A Grand Jirga of elders of Zalikhel Wazir tribe of South Waziristan tribal district on Saturday announced to raise an armed lashkar (militia of volunteers) comprising 3,000 people who will stage sit-ins outside police stations and may also ransack them if the arrested tribesmen were not released.

The Jirga was held in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan, over delay in release of the tribesmen arrested on charges of torching an ambulance and firing on a police party. Sources said 16 members of the tribe, including elders were arrested and they are still under arrest. The tribal elders Malik Sherin Jan, Malik Noor Ali Karmazkhel, Malik Mirdil, Malik Muhammad Aslam, Malik Jangwali and Malik Gulazai said while addressing the Jirga that the district administration and police had failed to maintain law and order in the area. They particularly criticised the performance of District Police Officer Shaukat Ali who they alleged has failed to honour his pledges with the tribe. The said some elements were bent upon disturbing law and order situation in South Waziristan.

The tribal elders said the elders of Zalikhel tribes were arrested without any legal reasons and the officials have filed to release them according to their pledges. They asked the district administration and police to release the arrested elders otherwise the Zalikhel tribe would raise militia of 3,000 armed volunteers and attack the police stations in Wana, Azam Warsak and Speen if the elders were not released on bail. They said the district administration, and district police officer would be responsible if any untoward incident occurred during the protest and sit-in. They said they won’t recognise the police system until the courts are established inside South Waziristan.

It was first time after the merger of erstwhile Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that the South Waziristan Police few days ago arrested 16 prominent members of Zalikhel tribe over charges of torching an ambulance and firing on a police party. District police chief Shaukat Ali claimed that the tribesmen were raising a militia to torch the home of station house officer of Azam Warsak Police Station, as he had registered cases against them over challenging the writ of the government. He said strict action would be taken against those challenging the state writ.



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