Khyber administration decides to reinstate 600 khasadars
LANDI KOTAL, Nov 17: The political administration of Khyber Agency on Saturday decided in principle to reinstate all the khasadars, who had resigned en bloc after they were threatened by a Bara-based militant organisation in 2009.
An announcement to this effect was made by Assistant Political Agent Mohammad Nasir during a jirga of all the seven tribes of Bara that was headed by MNA Hamidullah Jan Afridi.
“The khasadars, 600 in number, will be restored to their previous positions without any pre-condition,” Mr Nasir told the jirga and urged the local elders to assist the political administration and security forces to restore lasting peace in Bara.
MNA Hamidullah Jan spearheaded the efforts for the reinstatement of the khasadars. In this connection, he along with some elders of Bara held a series of consultations and meetings with both administrative and security officials during the last 18 months.
The khasadars had resigned en bloc in September 2009 only a week after security forces launched a military operation against Bara-based outlawed militant organisation Lashkar-i-Islam.
Mangal Bagh, the chief of Lashkar-i-Islam, had threatened to target those khasadars, who would take part in the military operation against him. Acting swiftly, the administration had sacked all the khasadars.
Initially, the administration adopted a strict stance and invited applications for fresh recruitments from Bara but very few local people availed the opportunity. The administration had to abandon its fresh recruitment drive owing to the lackluster response from the Bara residents.
On the other hand, the elders of the area had been constantly demanding restoration of the sacked khasadars.
Mr Nasir told Dawn that the decision about restoration of 600 khasadars was unconditional and all of them would be invited to rejoin their duty after the completion of some necessary file work.
“There are certain legal hurdles we are working on and as soon as these legal hurdles are removed, the khasadars would be officially invited to resume their responsibilities,” he said.
Khiyal Mat shah, a member of the jirga that negotiated the reinstatement of khasadars, told Dawn that the jirga also demanded reopening of Bara Bazaar and some major link roads in the area.
He said that the authorities assured the jirga members that the bazaar would be reopened soon if local elders agreed to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring peace in the area.