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ISLAMABAD: The closures of Thall-Parachinar Road on security grounds forced thousands of residents of the Upper Kurram district to spend Eid ul Fitr away from their families and loved ones.

The only road, linking Parachinar with the rest of the country, remained closed for residents of Upper Kurram following two people belonging to Mangal Tribe were gunned down by unidentified armed men while injuring four others on Parachinar bypass road on April 7.

Due to the closure of the road, thousands of people including families, students, and government employees, especially in Peshawar, Kohat, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, who wanted to spend Eid holidays with their families and loved ones in their native town, Parachinar, will not be joining them on this Eid ul Fitr.

Local sources said that tension had already persisted in the area after another incident of target killing of two people belonging to Turi tribe in the vicinity inhabited by Mangal Tribe in Nari Ser area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on April 4, but the road remained open for all kind of traffic. However, after the April 7 incident, the people belonging to Turi and Bangash tribes of Upper Kurram, who come from Shia sect, stopped using the road due to eminent threats of being targeted by the rival tribes or members of some militant organisations.

Soon after the April 7 incident, video statements apparently by members of the rival tribes went viral on the social media platform, Facebook, threatening the Turi and Bangash tribes of attacks in case they travel the Thall-Parachinar road, which is largely populated by their rival tribes in lower Kurram.

A senior official of the local administration told this correspondent that the administration has not closed the road, but people themselves opt not to take the risk and avoid travelling on the road whenever there is any security issue.

He said that in its capacity, the local administration has deputed police personnel on the road, besides security forces personnel to ensure the safety and security of the passengers.

However, talking to a number of people belonging to Upper Kurram, Parachinar, they expressed dissatisfaction over the security arrangements and also blamed the local administration for its failure to ensure the security of the passengers.

“It’s the responsibility of the government to provide security and ensure the safety of every citizen, but it has failed badly to perform its responsibility. Despite tall claims, passenger vehicles had been targeted and people of Parachinar killed on many occasions even in the presence of security forces and police personnel,” said Iftikhar Hussain Turi, a medical professional in Peshawar, hailing from Parachinar.

He said that thousands of people belonging to Parachinar have been forced to spend their Eid away from their families in various cities and they are not able to travel to their hometowns because of security reasons.

“I haven’t seen my parents for almost one year and I was planning to see them on this Eid. But it will not happen after the closure of the Thall-Parachinar road,” said Taimur Ali Bangash, a government employee in Islamabad.

He said that a large number of students are also stuck in various cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar, and will not be able to celebrate this Eid with their families in their native villages in Kurram.

He lamented that the road witnesses frequent terrorist attacks and incidents of target killings of the Shia tribes which is why he did not opt to travel to his native village in Parachinar to celebrate Eid with his family.

Thall-Parachinar road has long been in the spotlight due to repeated incidents of target killings of the people belonging to Turi tribe of Parachinar and many have been killed for the last several years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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