PESHAWAR: The decades-old blood feuds in the rural areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are claiming hundreds of lives every year.
The groups involved in these feuds are promoting gun culture and terrorising the common people by brandishing arms in public.There have been a number of blood-feuds in Peshawar and other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that started years ago over petty issues and claimed scores of lives from both sides thus far.
There are also reports that some of these groups, which are heavily armed, are actively involved in crimes, supporting and facilitating criminals, land grabbing and harassing innocent people by intentionally brandishing weapons in public. They are being supported by local influential families and individuals in an effort to use them for their own purposes in case of need.
“After harbouring enmities for years, they can’t do regular jobs and businesses and have to find ways to run their kitchen as well as manage ammunition and guards. This lands most of the groups in unlawful practices as well as crimes to manage their expenses,” an official told The News.
The feuds also stop children from going to school or college. Instead they are encouraged to learn how to handle and use weapons for their safety. The blood-feuds cause inconvenience to thousands of other people in the area due to a sense of insecurity.
The Saddar Division Police, where most of the blood-feuds are going on for decades and have claimed innumerable lives, has identified over 130 such feuds in which armed men from all sides are a constant threat to the law and order situation.
“We have directed the sub-divisional police officers concerned and the station house officers to conduct raids to arrest those wanted from both sides in various cases and not allow anyone to brandish weapons in public or harass people. Besides, the officers have been directed to check and take prompt action if these groups are involved in any unlawful activity,” Waqar Ahmad, the superintendent of police (SP) Saddar Division, told The News. He has launched an operation against all the armed groups posing threat to law and order situation.
The officer said the Dispute Resolution Council (DRC) in Badaber is being made active while the jirgas of elders that are mediating between the rivals would be welcomed and facilitated if they want to resolve the issues to bring about peace in their respective areas.
“This is the prime duty of police to maintain law and order and save the lives and property of the public. This has been made clear that no one will be allowed to create any law and order issue and those involved in any criminal activity will not be spared,” said Waqar Ahmad, who assumed the charge of his office early this month. He has served as SP Rural, SP CTD in Peshawar, Bannu, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan.
An official informed that only in the limits of one police station, Matani, there are 58 blood-feuds that have claimed several lives in the last few years. “Most of these enmities are caused by property disputes. It starts from a small piece of land and the rivals sell several acres to arrange for the expenses in the last many years. Besides, other causes of the feuds are women, ego and petty issues that are going on for the last many years,” said an official.
The action by the police in these areas is largely being welcomed by the people and want the cops in other areas and districts to adopt a similar approach to save lives and settle disputes. “The police should especially go after the groups that are involved in land grabbing and crimes. This is for the first time that police are restoring peace in the area by going after the armed groups as well as facilitating DRCs and elders to resolve the feuds and ensure peace,” said a local of Badaber. Some of the blood-feuds have resulted in the death of almost all the male members in a family, leaving only women and children with nobody to feed them.
“Six brothers Inayat, Sharafat, Qadir, Javed, Naimat and Mohib, sons of Abdul Ghaffar, were among seven persons who were killed in a single incident allegedly by Nasrullah, Abdul Majeed and others in the limits of the Inqilab Police Station in July 2018. The cause of the clash was a fight between their kids,” said a source.Another dispute between two families in the limits of the same police station resulted in the death of dozens of people from both sides as well as passers-by. The issue started from a 6/7 marla plot and resulted in loss of several precious lives as well as millions of rupees from both sides. Two people from one side were killed in this feud only last week.
The former capital city police officer, Mohammad Ali Gandapur, had established two DRCs, in Badaber and Mathra, during the last one year after studying the situation of feuds and the threat it was posing to law and order. The DRCs in Peshawar have been doing a good job in resolving disputes in a speedy manner.
The three DRCs set up in Peshawar earlier, Gulbahar, Gulbarg and Tatara, had resolved 2,862 disputes in the last few years while 662 others were referred for legal action. Most of the disputes at some stage result in serious feuds and claim lives from both sides.
The DRCs and jirgas in other districts need to be made active as well. The police force should be directed not to allow anyone to take the law in hand or harass people by carrying automatic guns in public. The effective measures by the police, government and society can save hundreds of lives being lost in these blood-feuds every year.