Fatal land disputes in tribal districts, a headache for the authorities

Fatal land disputes in tribal districts, a headache for the authorities
Fatal land disputes in tribal districts, a headache for the authorities

The facts cannot be denied that the newly formed tribal districts have always been in the headlines due to terrorism, Talibanization, and the war on terror by the Pakistan Army.
Due to the constant efforts of the security forces and especially the Pakistan Army, the erstwhile FATA has witnessed a huge decline in terrorist attacks and bomb blasts. The eradication of terrorists and militants from the tribal regions was the only way forward to peace and prosperity of the erstwhile FATA and Pakistan.
However, the spiking incidents of land disputes in the tribal districts have become a headache for the authorities and the district administration as it has claimed dozens of lives and the thread is yet to be stopped.
Scores of residents have died across former FATA in recent months as five of its seven tribal districts including South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Kurram, Mohmand, and Bajaur have witnessed armed tribal clashes that are becoming increasingly violent and the government has failed to stop or resolve the issues.
According to locals, the increasing numbers of land disputes are worrying and they are reluctant to approach concerned authority in case of any land rift leading to violent differences.
Bilal Mehsud a social activist from South Waziristan while commenting on the issue said that the major issue in the tribal districts is the absence of land records which is the main source of conflicts in the merged districts nowadays.
He maintained that at least 3 million people were displaced due to terrorism in 2003. Once they returned years later to their villages, many found themselves embroiled in land and property disputes.
Bilal Mehsud lamented that the government despite the claims has failed to introduce land reforms in the erstwhile FATA in order to stop such dangerous and risky clashes.
He said several lives had been lost to the land dispute. “In fact, the land disputes in tribal districts can be resolved if the government brings land reforms and make a proper record of lands.”
He said that the Pakistan Army played an important role in bringing peace to the region by defeating terrorist organizations but now it was the government’s turn to play role in resolving the land issues across the tribal region.
It must be noted that the recent clash between the Dotani and Wazir tribes in the district has exposed the writ of the government in the region as district administration had failed to stop them from taking positions in bunkers over a dispute on the ownership of Spin area in the tribal district.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the District Administration from South Waziristan said that the KP government was trying its best to resolve the issues between the different tribes but it will take some time as centuries-old issues cannot be resolved in months. He stated that the people should first approach the concerned authorities before engaging in such clashes.
On the other hand, the legal experts believe that the FATA reforms included the formation of a board for the purpose of land settlement, but the land settlement body is yet to be set up which has added to the problem.
Robeena Shah a Peshawar-based lawyer on her comment over the matter said that under the FATA set-up in the past, such issues were decided by jirgas but with the FATA-KP merger, the laws that have been extended to tribal districts require records and evidence to decide these cases.
There is a dire need to resolve such conflicts immediately otherwise external forces may try to take advantage of the situation to push the region into violence once again.


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