KHYBER - The tribesmen suspended Pak-Afghan Highway at various points in Jamrud and Landi Kotal on Tuesday as protest against the planned deployment of police in newly-merged districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The protesters blocked the highway following a daylong visit of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Rahim Hussain to Khyber district to select sites for establishment of police stations. Scores of elders and people of the area launched sit-on on the main road at Bab-e-Khyber and Takia points for an hour to record their protest against imposition of police system in the area.

Malik Khalid Khan Afridi said that in a meeting with the governor KP on Monday, they were assured that all reforms would be materialised in the tribal belt with consultation with the elders but the authorities concerned started reorganisation without taking the area elders into confidence, he regretted.

He urged the government to kick off development projects in the area to remove sense of deprivation of the residents. He warned that any decision implemented without consultation with the elders would be opposed at every level.

Meanwhile, the Grand Mohmand Jirga also announced to oppose the police system in the tribal district, as it said it was contrary to the tribal norms and customs.

These views were shared by prominent tribal elders of the area during a Grand Mohmand Jirga held here at district headquarters Ghalanai. The Jirga was attended by a large number of tribal elders from various tehsils and tribes of the area including former senator Abdur Rehman Faqir, JUI-F Mohmand head Maulana Arif Haqqani, PPP’s Malik Israel Safi, Malik Sultan Koda Khel, Malik Fayaz Khawezai, Malik Safdar Khan Musa Khel, Shah Sawar Mohmand, Malik Attaullah Tarakzai, Malik Nisar Ahmad Haleemzai, Malik Amir Nawaz and others.

Addressing on the occasion, the tribal elders said that the police system was totally against the norms and customs of the tribal people which, they said, would create more problems for them. They said that tribal elders rendered many sacrifices during militancy and fully supported Pak Army and security forces to establish writ of government in the area.

The tribal elders threatened that they would continue their protest against the police system. They said that in the process of Fata Reforms as well, the tribal districts were merged into KP without tribesmen opinion and views.

“Most of the tribesmen were not taken into confidence during Fata Reforms Committee meetings and their visits to the tribal areas”, a tribal elder said. The elders said that crime rate would increase in the area due to deployment of police in the tribal district.

They threatened that Mohmand tribesmen along with other tribal districts elders would continue their protest against police system and abolishment of their tribal customs. They said that tribal elders would devise a strategy against merger of Fata without consulting with tribesmen in coming days at Peshawar Jirga.

They demanded of the high-ups of Pak Army, federal government and KP Governor to resolve the issue.