ANI Photo | Pakistan: Protest at Torkham border ends after negotiations with tribals

Vehicular traffic to and from Torkham was restored after remaining closed for several hours owing to a protest by the Khugakhel tribesmen in the Landi Kotal region of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the construction of a customs terminal at the border over their additional land without their formal consent, Dawn reported.
The agitated Khugakhel tribesmen agreed to open the road, which was closed at Torkham bypass in Landi Kotal after a group of their negotiating team held a series of talks with relevant officials.
Dawn reported that they managed to persuade the National Logistic Cell authorities to suspend work on the terminal till a solution was found to their objection to the acquisition of extra land without their consent.
Sources among the protesters, however, confided to Dawn that a ‘weak’ attendance at the protest camp on the bypass road forced Khugakhel elders to reopen the road.
They said that some of their elders were looking for a ‘face saving’ and wanted to end the protest in anticipation of a loss of interest by the ordinary tribesmen, who were already hit hard by rising prices of necessary daily use items and edibles.
Mufti Ejaz, the self-appointed head of the negotiating team, however, insisted that they would not step back from their genuine demands. He said that they would hold protests if the authorities concerned failed to honour their commitment to addressing their grievances.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of loaded vehicles were stopped on the road when Khugakhel tribesmen suddenly blocked the road. Many transporters said that they were not expecting the closure of the road as the tribesmen threatened only to stop work on the terminal.
The Khuga Khel tribe in the Landi Kotal region of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had threatened to stop the construction of a Customs terminal at the Torkham border if their reservations over excess land acquisition were not considered, Dawn reported earlier in the week.
Scores of Tribesmen held a protest at the Bacha Khan Chowk on Sunday and raised slogans against the National Logistic Cell (NLC) for allegedly occupying their collective land in excess of the land acquisition agreement they had reached with the Federal Board of Revenue, as per the news report.
The protesters alleged that hundreds of kanals of land were unlawfully occupied by the National Logistic Cell (NLC) despite repeated protests.
They stressed that a proper legal procedure for land acquisition and due compensation for the owners should be followed, according to the Dawn report. (ANI)

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