Afridi tribe threatens sit-in over occupation of their land

* Says Orakzai tribe grabbed their properties after displacement in 2009

Afridi tribe threatens sit-in over occupation of their land

PESHAWAR: Elders of Afridi tribe of Khyber Agency have blamed Orakzai tribe people for grabbing their land properties at Akakhel Okho Kandao and urged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Iqbal Zaffar Jhagra and relevant military officers to return them possession of the property otherwise they will observe sit-in outside governor house.

Addressing a joint press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Thursday Haji Muhammad Iqbal Afridi said that since the families of Afridi tribe had become internally displaced persons in 2009, their land had been occupied illegally.

Flanked by several other elders including Ajab Khan Afridi, Haji Abdul Qayyum Afridi, Haji Iqbal Afridi said that the people of Orakzai Agency had also vacated their area during operation against terrorists but they were allowed to return to homes sooner while the Afridis rehabilitation process was delayed and thus their (Afridis') land measuring thousands of acres was occupied.

He said that the land grabbers belonged to Ferozkhel tribe of Orakzai Agency, who had also harvested entire forests and started construction of houses on the grabbed land. "We have contacted political administration of both Khyber and Orakzai agencies and approached local elders to seek their help in resolution of the dispute but to no avail," he complained.

Similarly, Ajab Khan Afridi of Akakhel area said that if the dispute was not resolved immediately it would lead to blood feud and its entire responsibility would rest with political administration and KP Governor Jhagra.

The government, he demanded should stop construction work on the land and form jirga comprising elders of both tribal regions (Khyber and Orakzai) to play role to resolve the dispute to avoid any untoward incident.

He pointed out that the people of Akakhel area of Khyber Agency were already leading very miserable life due to multiple reasons including financial crisis created by displacement and were unable to feed their families while the land grabbing issue had added to their problems.

Besides, he said that law enforcers had also made their lives extremely dejected on name of security and kept them confined to their homes. He said that movement of the people had become very difficult and even serious patients, especially would be mothers also had to wait at security checkpoints for hours.

"We are Pakistanis, have rendered sacrifices for the country and government should give us due rights and respect like other citizens," he said and alleged that they were leading lives like people of Occupied Kashmir.