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36 killed as tribal groups clash over water in Pakistan

The clashes over the allocation of irrigation water have been raging for the past three weeks.

At least 36 people were killed as two rival tribal groups clashed over distribution of irrigation water in northwestern Pakistan’s volatile Kurram region,taking the death toll in fighting in the past three weeks to 134.

Mengal and Bangash tribesmen have been at loggerheads in Shalozan Tangi area of Kurram Agency for nearly a month.

A ceasefire arranged by the local political administration with the support of the Sunni-Shia Peace Council has failed to hold.

Five villages were torched in conflict areas near Parachinar,the headquarters of Kurram Agency.

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Besides the 134 people killed so far,scores of people have been injured in the fighting.

The clashes over the allocation of irrigation water have been raging for the past three weeks,and fresh fighting killed 36 people.

The rival tribes are intermittently targeting each other’s positions with heavy and light weaponry despite the announcement of a peace deal from both sides.

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Political authorities said the security forces have taken steps to stop the fighting and local residents have assured officials they will cooperate to bring normalcy back to the area.

Elders of the Toori and Bangash tribes,including Haji Shabbir Bangash,Malak Badshah,Malak Sarwar and Haji Inayat,recently took part in a grand jirga and pledged to lay down arms and live a peaceful life.

The elders also assured they would provide every kind of support to political authorities and security forces for establishing durable peace in the area.

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The participants in the jirga said the tribesmen were peace-loving and never wanted conflict but some elements who had played into “foreign hands” were behind the skirmishes and killings.

Local parliamentarian Sajid Toori said,”We have assured the authorities of complete cooperation for restoring peace and soon peace will be established in the area”.

First published on: 20-09-2010 at 21:34 IST
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