Janikhel protesters want peace, not fake promises

Protesters in Janikhel have said that they will continue their demonstration till the government ensures peace in their area.

Janikhel is a town and union council in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. People have been staging a protest since May 31 against the murder of prominent leader Naseeb Khan*.  

Hundreds of protesters have staged a sit-in alongside Khan’s body. It is trending on Twitter with the hashtag #JaniKhelSitinForPeace. They said that they will not move unless the government listens to them. They even threaten to march towards PM House in Islamabad.

The police have so far registered a case against five people for making anti-state speeches and inciting protesters.

The district administration said that they have discouraged political leaders from coming to the area because of its security situation. They said that they don’t want to cause them any harm.

Despite the hurdles, many politicians such as MNA Mohsin Dawar, JI’s Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Qaumi Watan Party’s Sikander Hayat Sherpao, and an ANP delegation led by former senator Baz Muhammad Khan Khattak have come to meet the protesters and show solidarity with them.

PTM’s Manzoor Pashteen was detained near Khushal Garh when he tried to meet the protesters. He was released after a few hours.

KP MPA Nisar Khan Mohmand, who participated in the protest on Tuesday, told SAMAA Digital that the government has not taken any concrete step to resolve the concerns raised by the protesters.

No government leader has come to meet the protesters or show solidarity with them, he remarked. People are concerned as targeted killings are increasing and it is giving rise to a new wave of terrorism.

We tried to bring this to the government’s notice but they didn’t pay any attention. The people won’t tolerate this indifference for long, he added.

He claimed that he met KP minister Shaukat Yousafzai recently and he assured him that negotiations are underway and the demands of the area residents would soon be met.

March protest

A similar protest was staged in Janikhel in March after bullet-riddled bodies of four teens were found in Bannu. They were identified as Atifullah, Ahmed Khan, Rafamullah, Muhammad Rahim Khan. They were aged between 14 to 18 years. Their tribesmen and relatives protested for a week and called it off on March 29 after reaching an agreement with the government.

The agreement was signed after successful negotiations between the government’s team led by KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan and the protesters at the Bannu Commissioner Office.

Naseeb Khan*, who was killed in May, played an important role in holding negotiations between the protesters and the government.

The government has, however, yet to implement the agreement.

Agreement details

1. The government will ensure complete peace in the area and will clear it of armed groups. It will not take away any type of licensed weapons from the ‘peaceful’ people in the area, and no house will be demolished in the process.

2. The government will immediately start the scrutiny and review of the Jani Khel tribesmen who are in the government’s custody. This will be done within three months on a priority basis. Those found innocent will be released immediately. If someone is found guilty, then they shall be punished according to Pakistan’s laws.

3. The families of the four teenagers will be given a compensation of Rs2.5 million under the Shuhda Package.

4. The government will announce a special development package for the Jani Khel—which couldn’t be developed because of the unrest in the area.

5. Jani Khel tribe wants to meet high-ranking government officials for the resolution of their problems. This will be arranged as soon as possible.

6. Jani Khel tribesmen and other protesters who were arrested on March 28 will be released immediately.

7. A free and fair inquiry into the incident of four teenage boys killing will be conducted and those found guilty will be punished. In the future, strict actions will be taken against such incidents.

8. In light of this agreement, the Jani Khel tribe announces the end of protest and sit-in.

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