Waziristan residents out on street to demand removal of landmines

An explosion killed three children Tuesday
Jun 03, 2021

People in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s South and North Waziristan districts have been staging a sit-in in Makeen in an attempt to convince the government to remove landmines from their areas.

On June 1, at least three children were killed after a landmine exploded in North Waziristan. They haven’t been buried yet and their families are participating in the Makeen protest.

The protesters have asked the government to announce compensation for the families and remove landmines from the two districts. The South Waziristan district administration has been negotiating with the protesters but a deadlock persists between the two sides.

In a recent press conference, Pakistani military spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar said the army has defused over 48,000 landmines in tribal districts.

Residents say dozens of people have so far been killed and several others wounded in landmine explosions.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led KP government has maintained that the authorities are working on defusing landmines and soon all of them will be removed.

In his address with the Senate, PTI Senator Dost Mohammad suggested the government train Waziristan residents and seek their support in removing landmines.

MNA Kalam Wazir told SAMAA Digital that the area hasn’t been cleared of landmines since the 2009 military offensive against militants.

The institutions are capable of removing landmines in no time but it appears that their priorities are different, according to Wazir. Most of the victims of landmine explosions were girls, who have all been handicapped now.

Wazir said that people have been protesting at three different places in North and South Waziristan and he will try to gather them all at a single place.

He said they would take the bodies to the CM House in Peshawar or PM House, if their demands were not met.

At least 4,6000 people were registered with Bajaur social welfare department and all of them were injured in landmine explosions, according to social activist Hazrat Wali Shah.

Hayat Pareghal, another social activist in South Waziristan, says at least 150 landmine explosions took place in the Mehsud tribe areas from 2008 to 2015.

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